Wille & The Bandits / Rainbreakers – live @ The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
First time for me in the Voodoo Rooms and it’s certainly a fancy dan venue compared to most of the clubs I frequent. A shame the mirrorball wasn’t in use but with a couple of excellent blues(ish) rock bands to see it was the stage that was taking my attention. It’s the monthly show staged by the Edinburgh Blues Club and saw a healthy crowd coming out to see Wille & The Bandits and Rainbreakers.
First up were Rainbreakers. Now I’d heard their earlier EPs and they were good. Not good enough to get me to pony up for their debut album but live they were a revelation. As I expected they were more of a seventies classic rock band with hints of Back Street Crawler on their more rock oriented material and with hints of Free on their bluesier songs. And you can’t ask much more than that. They had an excellent stage sound, Ben Edwards has a great voice and the Allmans style guitar licks and solos from Charlie Edwards were an absolute delight. The album “Face To Face” is out now and it should definitely be on your playlist.
After the half time raffle. Yes, the half time raffle. All it needed was fifteen minutes of prize bingo and some free sausage rolls and I would have felt like a teenager again. Anyway, it was time for Wille & The Bandits to take to the stage. They kicked off with ‘Victim Of The Night’ from their latest “Paths” and rather surprisingly the sound had taken a turn for the worse. It’s usually the other way round but the drums sounded dry and high in the mix. Some fiddling about must have rectified things as when another new track kicked in, ‘Make Love’, things started to improve.
From then on the band were in fine fettle with their best tune, ‘Testify’, one of the best live performances I’ve heard in a while. Turns out Wille is almost a local boy with his Dad coming from non-specific Queensferry Hopefully South rather than North as you know what they say about folk fae Fife. So there were a few family members in who would have pleased to see their boy in action.
As with a band who seem more in tune with the jam band scene rather than full on blues rock there were a couple of middling moments. I’m sure it’s special to Wille but a reggae rhythm-ed ballad about his baby daughter had a few folk heading for a top up the bar. Or you could do what I did and admire the stunning six string bass work of Matthew Brooks. They’re all remarkable musicians with Wille providing some accomplished slide and lap steel work while percussionist Andrew Naumann got to really show off his chops on their cover of a cover. Namely the Santana version of Fleetwood Macs ‘Black Magic Woman’.
Another band that I enjoyed more live than on record, this was a grand night of music. And if you’re doon South you’ve still got a chance to catch them on the last stretch of the tour. They’re in Newcastle tonight followed by shows in Cambridge, Norwich, Birmingham and Oxford before finishing up at the O2 Academy 2, Islington, London.