Here are again at one of Edinburgh’s premium venues, Bannermans Bar, to catch the legend that is Pat McManus but first up is local band Richy Neill And The Reinforcements. The band start off with the rocking “Sky at Dawn” from their Rise & Fall EP before we get “Hard Case” from their Life Stories EP. These tracks sound good on the EPs but live, the band takes on another life with their energy and constant jumping into the crowd to sing and play guitar. We have another couple from the Rise & Fall EP with “Untouchable” & “Wishing Well”, and the boys play a new one tonight with “Wings” boding well for their new EP/album, before they “Take Another Drink”. We end with one more from the Rise & Fall EP in the form of “Tick Tick”, which was probably my favourite of theirs tonight. I really enjoyed the band. I found their EPs slightly underproduced but live, they are a different ball game, very lively and vibrant. Catch the boys live as they are well worth a look.
The main event now with the ever-smiling Pat McManus Band. They kick off with the ZZ Top boogie flavour of “Iona Sunset”, which is a real foot-tapper of a song that keeps that grin on your face. Next up we get some “Smoke & Whisky” with its hard rockin guitar intro, again with a similar vibe keeping the crowd rocking. We get a few covers tonight including “Crossroads”, a quality version of “Red House” and “Don’t Believe a Word”, then a different take on “Caledonia”, but special mention goes to the fiddle version of “Game of Thrones” which was frankly stunning and had the crowd singing along.
The first of six Mama’s Boys tracks tonight, “Blacklisted”, and it’s always great to hear the old stuff. We get to Plug It In now with “Belfast City Blues”, which is just fantastic and has Paul Faloon on drums just grinning away all night, keeping the rear rhythm going along with his partner in crime on bass Marty McDermott. We also get the fabulous “Runaway Dreams”, “Straight Forward” and of course “Needle in the Groove” from the Plug It In album. Mama’s Boys never got that break which was a real shame as they were a great band live and in the studio. Thankfully, we still have the fabulous ever young Pat to keep us going with his own vast catalogue, as well as his Mama’s Boys songs. We have a couple from Tattooed In Blue with “Mama Don’t Do It” & “What If”. Then we have a wonderful version of “All Along the Watchtower”, before the fabulous Gary Moore inspired “Belfast Boy”.
The band’s encore consists of “Messin with the Kid”, “La Grange” and we end a truly fabulous 2-hour set with Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild”. I really think Pat was born that way as he, Paul and Marty treated us to an absolutely incredible display tonight of blues-inspired rock n’ roll. I have been watching Pat live since 1983 when I saw him with the Mama’s Boys opening for Thin Lizzy at the Edinburgh Playhouse and if anything like a fine malt whisky he ages slowly but is always worth the wait as he never disappoints the audience or himself.
Pics by Gary Cooper Photography