Friday 11th July: Tonight was the second gig to be staged at York's newest venue, The Duchess. I had missed the first, last Friday, because it clashed with my wife's birthday and missed this one because a) I'm not that keen on Shed Seven and b) enough people are for the gig to be sold out very quickly. The Duchess's legal battle with Barfly comes to a head next Thursday when an independent panel will decide whether the former can indeed open. Hopefully, the result will be that the second gig won't be the last.
Anyway, enough of where we weren't...
I find myself in the company of my musical-literate companion, in the Roman Bath, to see a band called Scandal, who we knew little about, bar the fact that they were a blues covers band. It turns out that they have been around for years, starting out playing their own stuff but, when the keyboard player left, started doing covers to keep the band going. They now perform as a four-piece (vocals and rythm guitar, lead guitar, bass and drums) and mostly play pubs. Indeed they have played the Bath before (just not during nights that coincided with our visits...)
It turns out their covers lean more towards the rock side of blues. Tonight's set contained few songs that I recognised but those that I did came from ZZ Top, Cream, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Gary Moore. OK, I didn't actually recognise the songs by Moore, but one (Cold Day in Hell) sounded familiar and a quick internet search revealed it to be one of his. I'm not too worried by the lack of recognition, though - apparently most of the songs were new to Roj as well. All of them were played well and, if I had been able to get hold of a set list, would probably have led to me adding more artistes to my already large list of CDs to purchase.
Ian Mann's vocals were, for the most part, strong and suited the style of song being performed. Jamie Reynolds, on lead guitar, was excellent if a little lacking in some of the "twiddly" bits in the original versions of some of the songs. Ady Ingleby had his bass turned up just a little too high for my tastes, there were times when it was making bits of my insides jump about. That just leaves Alan Hopwood on drums and he was as good as the rest of them.
Strangely for a band with no CDs to sell, they seemed to have their own marketing department. A woman, presumably a relative of one of the band, was walking around handing out slips of paper with the band's website printed on and then taking photos of various audience members. It turns out that the gallery section of the website focuses mainly on the audience, rather than the band. Keep an eye on it as we were snapped...
The final (encore) song was Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird. It's a cliche, but it really is one of my all-time favourite tracks and I have never before seen anybody play it live. While it wasn't the full sixteen minute live version that I own and while it was, again, missing some of the more complicated bits, it was a more than passable version of a classic song. A good way to end a very good performance and it made me glad that I'd braved the weather to go into town on my bike and, therefore, didn't have to rush for bus before the set ended.