South African born Dan Patlansky is one of those artists you’ve potentially never heard of, but once you’ve listened to a few of his albums or (even better!) seen him play live, you’ll wish you’d have found his brand of guitar-led, heavily blues-infused rock much earlier. Dan released his first album back in 2000. Now 7 albums later, after touring with Everlast in 2013 and Joe Satriani in 2015 and opening for Bruce Springsteen in Johannesburg during his “High Hopes” tour in 2014, Dan is back in Europe touring in Germany and the UK.
I caught Dan’s sold out London show at the Islington O2 Academy2 earlier this week with special guest, Lincolnshire-based blues singer-songwriter Ash Wilson opening the evening’s entertainment. Ash and his band are riding the wave following the release of Ash’s album “Broken Machine” during late April and there’s a real excitement and enthusiasm that shows through in their performance. There’s a strong delta blues vibe behind Ash’s opening song “Show Me How to Love you” and there are plenty of blistering guitar solo’s scattered through out the set. For me the penultimate song, “Words of a Woman” was the highlight. Inspired by Ash witnessing a domestic dispute where a man left his wife and child for an other woman, the lyrics are moving, but it is the final guitar solo that really conveys the sadness and emotion of the song. A cover of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” with plenty of audience participation was an excellent and uplifting way to finish off the set.
The packed-out London show was Dan’s tenth on this tour following seven shows in Germany and previous to that, a further two UK shows including the HRH Blues Festival. Dan was joined on stage by a trio of very talented musicians from Germany with Felix Dehmel on drums, Jonathan Murphy on bass guitar and Tom Gatza on keyboards and vocals.
The set started with the instrumental track “Drone”. It felt like Dan and the band used used the immaculately executed slow build of this track to both limber-up and to capture the absolute attention of the crowd before launching with complete commitment in to the riff-heavy “Sonova Faith” from IntroVertigo released as a single on the 10th of April. From this point on, the pace never slackened for a moment and the crowd filling the sweltering O2 Academy2 were treated to a masterclass of Dan’s blues-rock guitar and rich, roaring vocal delivery supported by pounding drums and
bass. Dan is a self confessed introvert and I think it may be fair to say that this manifests in his stage persona as a scorching intensity and total commitment to the music. Often singing and playing with eyes closed, sweat pouring and the veins on his neck standing out prominently, Dan gives himself completely to the music and it would appear that there are very few sounds he can’t make with that battered looking, but no doubt well-loved guitar. The guitar solos when they are unleashed are spectacular fiery beasts, and the searing energy released is hungrily fed upon by the rest of the band who in return deliver pounding, funk-laden grooves that compliment Dan’s howling guitar perfectly. There’s a real connection, and shared joy between all the band members and there is plenty of laughter and appreciative smiles on the stage.
From interviewing Dan recently for Rock At Night I knew that the expressive, arcing chord progressions and soaring solo’s of “Still Wana Be Your Man”, at times reminiscent of many a Pink Floyd tune, was the track that is Dan’s favourite “slow blues” to play live and I was not to be disappointed with this song forming a real highlight of the set. The set reached a crescendo with “Backbite”, the opening track from Dan’s 2014 album, “Dear Silence Thieves” and the final song “My Chana” where every member of the band delivered their own very impressive solo’s to round off an excellent set. Clearly there was always going to be an encore, and the crowd did not have long to wait before the band reemerged on stage round off the night with “Loosen Up” and a thumping rendition of “Fetch Your Spade”.
Dan Patlansky and his band make for a great live show that comes highly recommended. If you get the chance to catch Dan at a relatively intimate venue like the Islington O2 Academy2, don’t mess about, you’ll have a cracking night!
Ash Wilson Set List:
- Show Me How To Love You
- Worlds Gone Crazy
- Peace and Love
- Out of Time
- Words of a Woman
- The Way You Make Me Feel (Michael Jackson cover)
Dan Patlansky Set List:
- Sonnova Faith
- Stop The Messin’
- Bring The World To It’s Knees
- Bright Lights, Big City (Jimmy Reed cover)
- Bet On Me
- Still Wanna Be Your Man
- Daddy’s Old Gun
- My Chana
- Loosen Up
- Fetch Your Spade
Ash Wilson Photos:
Dan Patlansky Photos:
Islington O2 Academy2, 02/05/2017
Article first published on Rock At Night.
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