Thursday, 30 April 2015

The Curse of the Blues Guitarist's Face

Angels have been killing themselves
In one of the early scenes of Kevin Smith’s fantastic film Dogma the heroine Bethany asks the voice of God “What's he like?” The Melatron replies “God? Lonely. But funny. He's got a great sense of humour. Take sex for example. There's nothing funnier than the ridiculous faces you people make mid-coitus.” “Sex is a joke in heaven?” enquires Bethany.The way I understand it, it's mostly a joke down here, too” replies the voice of God!!

During Dan Patlansky’s brilliant set, a real master class in blues-rock guitar playing, the angels must have been killing themselves laughing, as with each bent note he contorted his face! Perhaps the blues guitarist mid-chord was God’s prototype for the lover mid-coitus! Maybe this explains why even the ugliest guitar player gets the girl before the rest of the male population – or probably closer to the truth why so many of us (the male population) attempt to master the instrument!!!! 

But what is it about blues guitarists that makes them so prone to such weird facial expressions during a solo? Let’s be clear Dan Patlansky is not the worst offender – will anyone ever beat Robin Trower, who is still delighting and slightly disturbing blues audiences at 70 with his strange pouting!! 

The grotesque macho stance of the longhaired Heavy Metal Axeman complete with outstretched arm raised high in clenched fist and tongue wagging does not come close. The seated balladeer’s closed eyes and slowly swaying head is not half as stupid! The pogoing Punk is perfectly palatable, even the arched back or bent low guitarist is acceptable, but the distorted face of the blues guitarist unnerves me!

Check it out….

Don’t let this put you off. If you get the chance go and see Dan Patlansky – GO. The angels maybe laughing but this was a seriously good gig. Master of instrument and genre, he quite simply silenced the mainly middle aged male audience (who must have seen every blues guitarist to emerge in the last 30 years) as suddenly from a room full of sound he continued the solo at a whisper; not a voice was heard, so enthralled were this experienced audience. 

He is a lion-tamer who has a roaring, ferocious and vicious beast which he holds on the edge until the song demands acquiescence, and the animal is submissive at a simple slide of his fingers.

He let his guitar do most of the talking but any introduction to a song was concluded with the phrase ‘Check it out’.

The week before I had listened to the band that won best Welsh Album of 2014 and the only conclusion I could come to was that there couldn’t have been much competition. So I was a little apprehensive when this gig was advertised as ‘Dan Patlansky – Winner of World’s Best Blues-Rock Album 2014’! He promised to play it all and I’m glad he did and I’m glad I checked it out.

Who needs a right hand anyway….

As the set came to an end – Patlansky casually wandered over to his amp and turned it up as a roadie removed his mic and stand and we were treated to an instrumental virtuoso Voodoo Child cover – a large majority of which was played one-handed. It was an amazing performance – at times you had to remind yourself to breathe as you hung on every note. Not too far from me one member of the audience fainted.  I knew it had been good, but at least I had remembered to breathe!

Patlansky finished with his tamed lion of a Strat dangling from the bottom e-string under his complete control and the crowd screaming for more…

…and in heaven the angels stopped laughing and joined with the crowd to demand an encore…

Gig: 6 of 50

Date of Gig: Mon 27th April 2015


Borderline, London


Tristan Mackay

Dan Patlansky

Running total of artists seen 19

No comments:

Post a Comment