Is it lucky that I am off to see an Irishman on St Patrick’s Day? Here’s hoping as we head to Bannermans in Edinburgh for my first catch up with Simon McBride live… and it’s only Simon tonight as the support a have a touch of the COVID.
The band open with “Don’t Dare” and it’s immediately obvious that they mean business. They are on fire and are a well tight unit with bass-man Dave having almost more foot pedals than Simon, and his fellow rhythm artist, Marty, grinning away like a loony at the rear – but what a drummer.
We have a few more with the likes of “King of the Hill” and “Just Takes Time” before we hit a cover which they have a laugh introducing – Bryan Adams’ “Kids Wanna Rock”. This reworked song rocks like it’s on speed and is all the better for it. There is a raw fluidity in Simon’s playing which has you thinking Rory Gallagher meets Tom Petty at times, with a touch of Steve Vai thrown in.
One of the highlights for me tonight is “Gimme Something Good” from his 2019 100 Days EP which has hints of Peter Green’s Splinter Group about it. The interplay with the band is fantastic to see, in between slagging off the audience and each other! The way they feed off each other’s playing is so refreshing to see. There is one song that I really love and he played it tonight: “Dead Man Walking”. Absolutely stunning with Marty kicking ass on the drums, and a special mention for Dave who plays like a demon on bass, working those foot pedals to create amazing sounds. Definitely a new favourite bass player for this reviewer, a real ballet dancer on the pedals.
I would say forget Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” as Simon has one that is just killer and has the head going, feet tapping and your face grinning as the band lay waste to Bannermans tonight. He has so many songs that I could mention, with the likes of “I Gotta Move”, “Just Takes Time” and “The Stealer”… and then there is “Show me How to Love” with its flowing chorus lines and a bass/drum rhythm section to die for. Oh, and Simon’s vocals are just sublime.
We have touches of Hendrix, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath thrown in tonight along with an array of top notch original music and I have to say that myself and the packed audience loved every moment. There are songs like last year’s “The Fighter” that just make going to a live gig all that more special. They are great on record but live tracks take on a life of their own. I have loved every minute of tonight with Simon on full vocal form. His guitar playing has been a joy to watch with hints of Rory Gallagher, Tom Petty, Peter Green and Steve Vai. Marty was a joy on drums with such a natural fluidity, and as I’ve mentioned Dave was just sublime.
If you get the chance on the current tour, go see them. A truly excellent night of music and laughter. Roll on next time.
Photos by Gary Cooper