beth hart by john bull 1

 

                                                                                                      (Photo by John Bull)

 

 

It has been a very successful year, professionally, for the L.A. singer and songwriter Beth Hart. Still fresh from the successful 2015 album Better Than Home, this powerhouse artist has just released a brand new album in Europe called Fire On The Floor, an album that has been welcomed by unanimous appreciation both from her fans and the music press. The album, which will be released in early 2017 in the States, is Hart's personal masterpiece to date, thanks to a fabulous alchemy of deep, intense songwriting, perfectly balanced musical arrangements and Hart's irresistible singing style.

Beth Hart has been and still is on a sort of Neverending Tour, in-between the Better Than Home and the Fire On The Floor albums. Among the many places in the world where the Californian artist is highly respected and loved, the United Kingdom has had, in the last three or four years, a fast-growing love, respect and appreciation for Hart's intensity, passion, disarming honesty and insanely great talent.

We catch Beth Hart live in London, on the last night of the UK leg of the Tour, who has recorded an impressive series of sold-out concerts, night after night throughout the whole country. When the lights go down, at 8.30pm sharp, Hart surprises the whole crowd by entering gently the Hall from the stalls, rather than the stage, on the notes of Billie Holiday's classic Don't Explain.

Judging from the initial ovation tributed to Hart's entrance, it is very clear that the crowd is expecting a pyrotechnical performance from the American artist tonight. The warmth coming from the very excited London crowd might have been, perhaps, a bit too overwhelming for this incredible singer/songwriter, creating inadvertantly a little backfiring effect. Beth Hart shows some initial tension in the first half hour of the show, maintaining her powerful voice at a much lower level, compared to what her fans are used to listen to, on songs like If I Tell You I Love You and Can't Let Go.

Once the L.A. artist starts to loosen up, the quality of her performance goes up three notches, showing why Beth Hart is so much loved and respected by so many people of different age ranges around the world. She can become on stage either the hottest rock chick in town, when she delivers the foot-stomping new song Fat Man (dedicated ironically to the new U.S. President) or be the tenderest, most passionate human being on Earth, when she opens up the deepest chords of her tormented soul in the irresistible 4-songs sequence of St. Theresa, Good Day To Cry, Sister Heroine and Leave The Light On.

 lhm6062 rlaurence harvey 2

 

                                                                                             (Photo by Laurence Harvey)

 

There is nothing that can stop Beth Hart from this point on tonight's show. The crowd is visibly on her feet and the American singer/songwriter keeps the momentum of the night high by bringing the show to the end with a musical knock-out with Delicious Surprise and the splendid Tell Her You Belong To Me.

But the night is not quite over yet. The crowd screams incessantly for more and Beth Hart is not certainly somebody that pulls back, when it comes to return all the passion that she has received tonight by the Royal Festival Hall's full house. The new album title-track Fire On The Floor sees perhaps the best vocal performance of the artist on the night, to the point that she receives another standing ovation by the whole house. Mama, This One's For You, dedicated to Hart's mother DorothyLee, creates the perfect platform to close the show with a spectacular cover version of  Etta Jame's I'd Rather Go Blind, Hart's closing signature piece of her shows of the last 3-4 years.

An irresistible performance from one of the most talented and skilled artist of this generation, even despite the shaky start of tonight's show. It must be the magic of Xmas approaching, because the Londoners have witnessed, tonight, the only flying-indoor comet they are ever likely to see in their lives. That comet is called Beth Hart.  

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

It has been a long time coming for the Canadian rock band No Sinner to come back and play live again for their European fans. The 2013 acclaimed debut album Boo Hoo Hoo saw the band building a solid ground of popularity, thanks to a winning music combo of blues and rock, not just in Canada but in many part of the world, including United Kingdom, where the band was welcomed with a very warm reception the first time they toured in this part of the world.

Finally, No Sinner managed in 2016 to release their second album, Old Habits Die Hard, a splendid collection of songs with a more incisive spin into rock, containing inspired songwriting written by the band leader and powerhouse singer Colleen Rennison. Bluebird Reviews is lucky enough to capture the intensity of a No Sinner performance at The Borderline, one of the most historic music venues in London, Uk, during their European Tour.

At 9.30pm sharp, Rennison and the band, formed by Harry Watson on keyboards, Kyler Pierce on guitar, Max Grant on drums and Brandon Clark on bass, come on stage and the jubilant roar of the crowd, even in a relatively small venue like The Borderline, sounds almost as powerful as it may sound in a temple of the music like the Royal Albert Hall.

no sinner borderline 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  (Photo by Duncan Jones)

 

 

The way No Sinner attack the gig is impressive, in many ways; the ballsy rock and roll of Leadfoot, followed in immediate succession by the beautiful, rootsy tempo of All Woman show unmistakably how much the sound of the band has matured and become more compact, through the craftmanship of all the musicians on stage and, most of all, through the incredible voice of Colleen Rennison.

Rennison's vocal range is very impressive. The Canadian performer can flex her voice to such unimaginable extents and tonight's concert displays in full throttle what Rennison is able to achieve, through her phenomenal voice.

No Sinner are truly unstoppable tonight. In a setlist that comprises almost in its entirety the tracks present on their new album Old Habits Die Hard, the band give their absolute all, on stage, in front of a very cheerful and appreciative crowd.

Hollow is one of the most intense moments of the whole show. The depth of Rennison's vocal delivery on this track is passionate, soulful, almost mystical and the band creates the perfect sonic ground to allow the Canadian singer and songwriter to express her artistry at its very best.

colleen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo by Duncan Jones)

 

No Sinner are a band in every sense of the word. Each musicians bring on stage every ounce of their talent, showcasing it individually in several moments of the show, including Grant's memorable drumming on One More Time, for example, or the classy and flawless closing Mandy Lyn, in which the whole band doesn't miss a single note throughout the song and the amalgam among the five musicians reaches sheer perfection.

The London fans gathered at The Borderline don't want the show to finish quite yet, though and keep calling repeatedly the band to return for an Encore. As a personal "Thank You" to a country that has so warmly embraced their music since the beginning of their career, No Sinner decide to perform a couple of covers to salute and homage the fans and the United Kingdom, Them's Gloria and Amy Winehouse's Valerie.

When the show is over, Yours Truly spots several smiles coming from the crowd, on the way out from the venue, clear symptom of how much the fans enjoyed the return of a band that it's clearly on the path to global stardom. No Sinner have done it again.

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

Jj Grey Mofro by John Bull

(Photo by John Bull)

 

There is always something mystical and spiritual about performing in such a beautiful venue as The Union Chapel in the English capital.

Even for a consummate performer like JJ Grey, to enter this spectacular church, which is occasionally converted into a music venue, must have felt really special. On a beautiful starry evening like today, to be here at this venue and to see a powerful and poignant show played by JJ Grey & Mofro makes the right combo for any music lover.

The Music Maverick from Florida enters the stage in an elegant suit and as always, JJ Grey and his Boys take the house down with their powerful, passionate mix of R&B and Soul. The shorter setlist chosen by the American artist for tonight's performance offers many pleasant surprises.

JJ Grey cleverly picks and chooses tonight's setlist from his whole discography and that decision reveals to be a winning one. There are some true gems from an underrated album from JJ Grey's discography like Lochloosa, which are a true joy to listen to live. Tonight's opener How Junior Got His Head Put Out, Six Ways From Sunday and the album title-track Lochloosa are delivered by the Florida's singer/songwriter in such a powerful way and they sound as fresh as they were written yesterday.

setlist JJ Grey

 

The atmosphere at The Union Chapel must have packed a punch into JJ Grey's heart tonight. He repeatedly refers to The Union Chapel as "One of the most special venues I have ever played in" and when it comes to the moment to perform Brave Lil' Fighter ("a song about someone that went through many unfortunate circumstances in life"), the intensity of the song catches the American Artist by surprise and he steps briefly away from the microphone during the bridge of the tune, like he was feeling that song on his own skin.

The Mofro are in terrific form tonight as well and it's a must to mention the stellar performance especially of the Horn Section of the band. JJ Grey's ability to lift up the audience in moments of the show like Orange Blossom or Country Ghetto, craftly balancing with beautiful ballads like Every Minute or Light A Candle is second to none.

Due to local rules and restrictions, all artists performing at The Chapel have to finish at a certain time and it is a real shame because JJ Grey & The Mofro and the crowd would go gladly on for an hour still and even more.

Ol' Glory is the encore that bring the whole crowd to their feet, dancing the night away through the infectious sound of a fantastic band and a tremendous powerhouse singer.

JJ Grey & The Mofro delivered one of their most intense, soulful and splendid musical sermons of their career. No better places than The Union Chapel to do so.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

ryan mcgarvey jack hutchinson photo

 

 

 

 

 (Photo by Jack Hutchinson)

 

 

 

 

  

 There is a special connection between Europe and that very talented guitarist and singer/songwriter that is Ryan McGarvey. The NeverEnding Tour that McGarvey is carrying since the release of The Road Chosen album in 2014 has taken the artist from Albuquerque, New Mexico through various European countries in the latest leg of a tour that is costantly proving how much the American artist is not just hugely loved in his own country but in several parts of the world too.

The United Kingdom belongs undoubtedly to those places of the world above mentioned, where McGarvey's artistry is growing exponentially as the years go by. As a consequence, there could have been no better places to close the European part of the tour than the UK capital London.

The 100 Club is one of those places that belong to rock and roll history. Located in the heart of London, the club has seen performing in the last half a century the cream of the music industry worldwide, from The Stones to the New York Dolls and many more and the list would go on forever. McGarvey is tonight sharing the bill with other worldwide artists, some of those long time friends like Erja Lyttinen, the finnish guitar prodigy whose career has also been followed closely by our website. 

ryan and erja

 

 

 

 

   (Ryan McGarvey & Erja Lyttinen - Photo By Gio Pilato) 

 

 

 

 

 

McGarvey is accompanied on stage tonight, as it has been happening for the last 12 months, by the talented drummer Christopher HIll and by one of the giants of bass guitar of all time like Carmine Rojas. The set is a shorter one, in comparison to the two-hours shows that Ryan McGarvey is use to play every night but the hour of music that Yours Truly and the rest of a jam-packed venue is going to witness tonight is truly intense and of supreme beauty.

The American Guitar Maestro shows, once again, why he is one of the most talented and respected blues/rock guitarists worldwide in no time, by launching himself and his band in a solid performance of Blues Knockin' At My Door.

McGarvey's style is incredibly versatile. His guitar sound flies flawlessly in the air sometimes gracefully, through suave melodies and tales of broken hearts or wildly, as in one of McGarvey's all time masterpieces that is Memphis.

There are lots of smiles between McGarvey and his band, throughout the whole show. A clear sign that the musicians are not just enjoying themselves on stage and entertain wonderfully the full house of The 100 Club but they are also feeling that tonight, there is something extra special in their performances. When McGarvey introduces, as next song, one of the fan's most favourite tunes, Blue Eyed Angel Blues, The 100 Club literally erupts. Ryan McGarvey is not just one of the finest guitarists worldwide but also a truly excellent singer and this song proves it all through a remarkably sublime execution of this tune from his first album Forward In Reverse.

When the musicians exit the stage after the splendid Joyride, the crowd clearly doesn't want this show to end just and chant so loudly McGarvey's name for the next 5 minutes that the American artist cannot certainly refuse an Encore for the loving crowd of The 100 Club. What follows is a spectacular version of another of McGarvey's most loved hits, Mystic Dream, in which this incredible Guitar Virtuoso launches himself plus Rojas and HIll in 12 minutes of absolute rock hysteria, in a sonic attack of the finest quality.

McGarvey couldn't end the European tranche of his tour in a better way or with a better performance than the one witnessed tonight in London. His fans on the other side of the pond and the artist himself both know that they certainly won't be waiting very long to see the return and hear the magic that comes from the guitar and the voice of one of the most loved and most talented artists of the last decade. 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

Big Boy Bloater

 

There are two very good reasons why it's always worth to go to a Big Boy Bloater and The Limit's gig. The first is the contagious good feeling this band is able to express through his music and the band leader's happy, spirited eyes. The second is to get the chance to listen live to the tracks of a great album like Luxury Hobo, the new record of this formidable band.

The historic 100 Club is packed with many BBB fans coming from all different part of the country, from the North of England to even Wales. Big Boy Bloater & The Limits feel immediately that there are special vibes in the house tonight and don't lose a second in launching the positive energy that comes from their talent as musicians and BBB's robust, powerful and graspy voice into tonight's show. The openers I Love You (But I Can't Stand Your Friends) and Robot Girlfriend take the crowd already in a dancing mood and lead the fans to believe that this will be a very special night of music.

Big Boy Bloater & The Limits are a perfect sounding music machine. Many have got the tendency to forget that the Big Boy Bloater, together with being an extraordinary singer, is also an excellent guitarist and he blends perfectly the many sides of his talent in the tracks Devil's Tail and All Things Considered.

The Limits are in great form tonight too. Dan Edwards on keys, Matt Cowley on drums and Steven Oates on bass provide power, fabulous musical improvisation and a solid backbone to their band leader throughout the whole show (Dan Edwards gets even an impromptu, collective Happy Birthday wish from the whole crowd).

Once most of the songs of the new album Luxury Hobo have been performed and highly appreciated by the enthusiastic crowd at the venue tonight, Big Boy Bloater revisits part of his back catalogue, reaching the climax of the show by performing classics of his extensive repertoire such as Rocket Surgery, Sweet & Brown and Big Fat Trap.

The irresistible combo of R&B, alternative rock and soul is something that Big Boy Bloater & The Limits know very well how to put together and tonight is no exception. They feel the crowd is hot enough by now and launch themselves in a pyrotechnic, fast tempo finale with Not Cool Man, the closing track of their new studio album.

After 90 minutes of musical entertainment at its finest, the fans desperately want an encore. A big cheer from the crowd welcomes back the band on stage, where a highly energetic version of Devils & Not Angels closes a wonderful night of music.

Tonight's concert proved that the secret of this band stands not just into their incredible artistry as musicians but also into the fact they are able to speak to different age ranges through their eclectic music offer. Big Boy Bloater & The Limits came and conquered London for one night only and they certainly did it in style.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

  

JB by Christie Goodwin

(Photo by Christie Goodwin)

 

The Greenwich Maritime site is not only one of the many beautiful landmarks of London,  United Kingdom but also the perfect location for a music festival, right on the edge of the river Thames, hosting tonight an evening of true blues/rock aristocracy.

Even for Joe Bonamassa, Guitarist Extraordinaire and main event of a night of blues/rock that promises to be truly spectacular, it must be feeling really special to play in such a wonderful place. The feeling that this will be a special concert tonight in London is also due to the heavy presence of cameras all around the venue, hinting that there might be a possible DVD to be released in the future for tonight's performance. In the V.I.P. area, at the venue, many famous faces can be spotted, most of them very familiar to Bluebird Reviews. From Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson to the cream of the nouvelle vague of British blues/rock, like Ben Poole, Laurence Jones and Aaron Keylock amongst others.

After an incredible opening set of tonight's support artist Joanne Shaw Taylor, whose talent keeps growing and growing each passing year, both as a guitarist and as a singer, at 8.30pm sharp the prodigious guitarist from Utica, NY comes on stage, immaculately dressed as always, with his band.

Bonamassa is currently bringing to the UK masses his latest project, a Tour which is an homage to the 70's British blues/rock regalia, by playing tunes from music giants that have been instrumental in his own musical growth, like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.

Bonamassa Greenwich

(Photo by Bluebird Reviews)

The show is, musically speaking, impeccably designed. Bonamassa carefully selects tracks from his most favourite albums of the era, like Jeff Beck's Beck-Ola (Rice Pudding, Spanish Boots) or Eric Clapton's 461 Ocean Boulevard (Motherless Children, Mainline Florida) to be performed and he does so as masterfully as all those artists would have possibly wished for.

Despite surprisely being, at times, vocally lacklustre in tonight's performance, Bonamassa is slick and pitch-perfect on guitar as always. Supported on stage by a very highly skilled band, in which particularly Anton Fig on drums and 2015's Inductees Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame keyboard player Reese Wynans talent shine through the entire show, Bonamassa offers a superb delivery of Cream's SWLABR, from that monumental album that is Disraeli Gears followed by an incredible and very intense Zeppelinian medley of Tea For One and I Can't Quit You Baby.

The encore of Sloe Gin, one of Bonamassa's biggest hits, is the only exception to the theme of a perfectly calibrated show. In this beautiful and fresh English summer night, Joe Bonamassa successfully demonstrated once again why he is one of the most venerated guitarists and performers worldwide. A very solid performance, perhaps not at the same level of the famous Royal Albert Hall in 2009 or, more recently, at The Hammersmith Apollo for The Tour De Force but still a true statement of class and brilliancy from one of the most talented guitarists of this generation. 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato  

Northampton, Mass:

Joe Louis Walker beckoned music fans of all ages to the Iron Horse Music Hall twice this year. How lucky we are for such  fortune! His award winning blues talent attracts people from all over the globe through word of mouth and legend.  The New York blues man and recording artist has played with Jimi Hendrix, BB King, and recorded with countless A list artists. At the Iron Horse, brought blues, soul, funk, and old school gospel, to the full house. When Joe Louis Walker enters a venue, it's immediately - his house. 

The last time he was in town, we got snowed out driving to the venue, but Walker's show went on. It was heartbreaking to have missed him! Later in the year, Gio Pilato wrote up his new Mascot Label record, "Everybody Wants A Piece"   with rave reviews. We were determined not to miss him this time around. 

Joe Louis Walker is from Poughkeepsie. Ironically, my friends tonight, were also from Poughkeepsie. They were so enthralled by his prior performance at The Falcon in Marlborough, NY, that they drove three hours to see him again in Northampton, MA. 

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