Monday, 4 May 2015

Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some form a band...

Er… excuse me lads you do know we have a support act to fit on that stage….
The trick with Wille and the Bandits is to make sure you book a solo artist as the support! There may only be three members of the band but once their equipment is set up on stage you struggle to find a spot for another mic stand! Good job that Josh Healey was booked - a singer-songwriter, one man, one guitar, he just about fitted on the stage!

Booking Josh was a good move for another reason too  - his support set was quite simply beautiful. His natural rapport with the audience the perfect segway to his finely crafted acoustic songs, delivered with a purity and control of voice that defy his age.

It all about the sum of the parts….
In my last blog I was extolling the virtue of Dan Patlansky, and I would still urge everyone to catch him live, but tonight was different. Patlansky’s bassist and drummer, while essential to the gig, were only really on stage to showcase the great talent of Patlansky. Matt and Andy are no foil to Wille - they are an integral part of the sound that is Wille and the Bandits. The sound is fuller, more powerful, tonally richer and prone to greater light and dark than Patlansky’s.

The first time I saw this incredible band live I kept finding myself counting the band members on stage, because I just couldn’t believe that this wonderwall of blues-rock that was assaulting my ears was made by only three musicians. 

Watch Matt’s fingers moving quicker than most lead guitarists on his 6 string base, or Andy’s syncopation with one hand and a driving rhythm with the other and you realise this is no average rhythm section!

Add Wille’s husky blues voice, incredible slide guitar, and stunning songwriting and its is no surprise that Wille and the Bandits are far greater than the sum of their exceptional parts.

Mission from God
I’m back up in Cheshire, a flying visit, for another Malt’n’Music night. This is the second time that Wille and the Bandits have played in Moulton. The first was a brilliant night that quite simply blew the village away. It blew the band away too, they were keen to come back - maybe it had something to do with the Bandit Ale at the Lion!

I’ve always wanted an ale named after us’ quipped Wille. ‘It’s the pinnacle of a musician’s career, we can retire now.' Please don’t. There are millions of so-called music lovers who need to be saved from the over-produced mediocrity of commercial music. It’s a mission from God.

There was only one phase on people’s lips. ‘Better than the first’. Hard to believe, but they were tighter, more energetic and powerful than the first time (and Wille was ill). 

Malt’n’Music in every sense 
At previous Malt’n’Music gigs the audience have hung back like worshippers at church, congregating safely close to the exit! Tonight they were drawn forward, the sheer intensity of the music pulling people closer to its source. There was barely room for the Malt’n’Music team to find a path through the crowd to keep Wille plied with cough medicine for the soul (or whiskey to you and me!). The perfect cure for man-flu!

I could have talked all night...  
This truly was Malt’n’Music not just because Single Malt was soothing the vocal chords of the lead singer but once again the community turned out to support live music in the village. What people often don’t realise is that live music is a partnership, a relationship and a dialogue. Too many audiences demand to be entertained without giving anything to the event, to take and only give back once they feel gratified. The Malt’n’Music crowd had always been aware that bands feed off audiences just as much as audiences feed off bands. 

As the set progressed the atmosphere grew and deepened as band and audience, responding to each other, gave their all. The crowd were tremendous singing, dancing, cheering and having a wonderful time. Such a vibe from the audience can’t fail to ascend to the stage and as the band finished the last song, the simply sublime ‘Angel’, the smiles on their faces said it all – Once again we were blown away and once again so were they. No wonder in their latest tour email Wille and the Bandits declared ‘including a long awaited return to some of our favourite venues including:- The Malt 'n' Music Club

Even the vicar wants them to play louder…. 
So just how good are Wille and the Bandits? Go. Go and see them for yourself to find out just how good, but before you get the chance here are a couple of indications from the gig; 

1. As they returned to the stage for the encore Wille announced ‘this is for all the Dire Straits fans in the audience.’ People went wild - that’s how good they are. No-one normally admits to being a Dire Straits fan!

2. After the gig the local vicar, only a few years from retirement, was asked what he thought. ‘Not loud enough’ came his reply - that’s how good they are. Even the vicar wants them to play louder! (I told you they are on a mission from God!)

Life is too short
I had to head straight back down the M6 so was unable to stay for the legionary Malt’n’Music after show party. If last time was anything to go by the Lion would be full, the Bandit beer barrel empty, and the morning very early…

Was I shattered as I crawled into bed? Yes! Did I regret the feeling of being barely alive the next day at work? No! Would I do it again today? Without hesitation! Life is too short not to experience such evenings they are gifts from God.

Gig: 7 of 50
Date of Gig: Sat 2nd May 2015

Village Hall, Moulton

Josh Healey
Wille and the Bandits

Running total of artists seen 21

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