For anyone who hasn’t been following Stevie Nimmo on Facebook, the sight of a quartet taking to the stage, rather than the usual trio, will possibly come as a bit of a surprise. Perhaps more shocking is that Mr Nimmo appears to be without a guitar. Most bands, when they first get up on stage, launch straight into their first song but Stevie instead took to the microphone to address the audience. By way of explanation, the good humoured blues man, possibly noticing some confused looks in the audience, apologises and points out that he won’t be playing guitar tonight due to a broken arm.
When the band kick into “Roll the Dice Again”, from the 2016 album “Sky Won’t Fall”, any concerns that the audience may have had are immediately dispelled. Stevie Nimmo looks as comfortable on stage without a guitar as he does with. He delivers his vocals with the passion of someone who obviously loves what he’s doing, and his enthusiasm for the blues shines through every note. Replacement guitarist, 24 year old Dave Devlin, has some big boots to fill, but he does an amazing job and pulls off some stunning solos.
The sound in the venue tonight is nothing short of fantastic. Hats off to the sound man this evening. It’s a seated venue, and being in the front row, I expected to be overpowered by whichever amp I happen to be sitting in front of. It’s not the case tonight though, and the balance of instruments is perfect. I chatted to bass player Zander Green after the show and he mentioned that the guitar amp was deliberately turned at an angle to face the wall so that this problem was avoided. However it was done, the resulting sound was very impressive.
Stevie Nimmo is on good form tonight, and chats and jokes with the crowd in between songs. He fills us in with some more details on his mountain biking accident that resulted in his broken arm. This tour should also have been promoting a new album, but unfortunately, due to his injury, this wasn’t on the cards. It was also nice to hear some background info on the songs. Before strapping on his daphne blue Fender Stratocaster, he explains to the crowd that he tries to play at least one song on the guitar each night. “Okay, let’s give this a crack… all right boys…”, and we’re treated to “California” with Stevie on guitar. His picking hand may look slightly awkward, and his arm maybe doesn’t look like it’s at quite the right angle, but none of this affects the sound he manages to coax from the guitar. The result is one of the biggest cheers of the night from a crowd that appreciates the effort he made.
The majority of tracks tonight come from “Sky Won’t Fall”, but there are quite a few covers in there too. It’s difficult to pick a favourite song of the evening, but I’d probably go with “Chains Of Hope”. It’s one of the heavier numbers, and I love the groove on this one. Zander Green really hammers out the low end notes. The rhythm section of Zander and drummer Craig Bacon works very well, and the interaction between band members is great to watch.
The band finish up with a couple of crowd-pleasing covers in the form of “Going Down” and the encore “The Storm”. The guy sitting behind me told me that he felt privileged to have been there, and I have to agree. The band put on a great show, and the fact that Stevie Nimmo couldn’t play guitar tonight didn’t detract from that at all. The guys are touring around Europe in March and April. Try and catch them if you can. Highly recommended.
Roll The Dice Again
Running On Back To You
Good Day For The Blues (Storyville Cover)
River Of Tears (Eric Clapton Cover)
Chains Of Hope
Lovin’ Might Do Us Good
Going Down (Freddie King Cover)
The Storm (Big George and The Business Cover)
Review: Martin Patterson
Live pics: Lara Vischi