|Red White & Blues/Nev MacDonald - Ebbw Vale, The Steelhouse - 31st May 2012|
|Written by Rob Watkins|
|Saturday, 09 June 2012 04:00|
The number of prestigious rock artists that have trodden the boards at the Ebbw Vale Steelhouse over the last year or so is somewhat astonishing to say the least, and the latest "hot ticket" act to grace the venue is the gang of vastly accomplished musos going by the moniker of Red White & Blues.... Here in town as a warm up for their following weekend's slot at the Download Festival and prior to that some shows opening for legendary Southern Rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd on the UK leg of a their worldwide tour, this is yet again quite the musical coup for the Steelhouse crew.
With the venue at fever pitch early doors tonight due in part to the overwhelming heatwave we are currently experiencing here in the UK, it should also be noted that the majority of the extra warmth can be accredited to the musicians performing this evening. And stepping up to open things tonight is former RW&B member Nev MacDonald playing a much lauded and eagerly awaited acoustic set with the accompaniment of former Kooga band mate Neil Garland on keyboards. As a result there's an obvious inclusion of some Kooga musical gems in the setlist and the masses are treated to 'Lay Down Your Love' and the title track from their 1986 record 'Across The Water' proving beyond any shadow of doubt the musical history and almost legendary status of the guys plying their musical wares up on the stage tonight. With some vastly appreciative crowd participation to boot, all intertwined with the heartfelt Welsh humour of MacDonald in the intimate acoustic setting the bellowing vocals of the frontman are simply mesmerizing. Tonight we're bearing witness to the true Welsh "Voice" and there's also the added bonus of a new tune 'Jacob's Ladder' on offer from Garland/MacDonald's quaintly titled new project Hands Of Dime. The guys are then joined on stage by former band mate and current RW&B guitar slinger Myke Gray for a run through of a couple of numbers that include the obvious set closer, which of course is the Skin classic 'Look But Don't Touch' which manages to leave The Steelhouse ringing to the sound of rapturous applause and some of the gathered fanatics on the verge of total musical exhaustion. And that was just for the support!
Taking to the stage to an ear piercing roar, the Steelhouse punters have suddenly found a second found a second wind for the one and only Red White & Blues, who come bounding on in absolute style with 'Shame Shame' complete with some soulful rock vocals courtesy of former Jagged Edge singer Matti Alfonzetti, now also responsible for bass duties. There is a killer crystal clear sound too and with classic rock tinged tunes like 'Get It On' and 'Set My Sights On You' included the crowd are almost immediately eating outta the guy's hands. There are some beautiful three pronged vocal harmonies and some blistering axe attack on 'Good Times', and the finely hones grooves are in full rockin' flow on 'Girls And Guitars' and 'Rescue Me'. This is rock music performed as it was originally intended, without all the glitz and the glamour, in its placed we find blues inspired bounce and swagger, and the people here tonight love it. This I guess is largely because there's an obvious honest enjoyment and musical integrity to RW&B's performance, and with the additional involvement of what can only be described as an electric audience during 'The Road To Hell' and 'Counts For Nothing' which is a bluesy ballad full of originality you have a musical match made in hard rocking heaven.
With all of this excitement it would be rude not to try and raise it just a bit further by inviting (as they phrase it) "A Welsh rock god in the house" back to the stage, in the shape of Nev MacDonald. The man duly obliging with a little backing vocals to 'Let It Shine' and the years of musical crafting are clearly evident and an honour to witness. From there on in it's anthem after anthem and that's no exaggeration folks, with da blues slang out in their very own distinctive fashion on 'Red White & Blues' with all it's killer singalong choral hooks, there's even a snippet of Skynyrd's 'Sweet Home Alabama' that crops up in reference to the following three days shows with the 'Freebird' makers, before the Steelhouse loyal go into overdrive on the hugely pleasing 'Stand Up For Rock And Roll' which ends the main set taking the clap-o-meter well past it's upper limit.
Returning triumphantly with an acoustic rendition of 'A Little Too Late' a real grand slice of true rock balladry and finishing everybody off with 'Long Way From Home' and 'The Best Is Yet To Come' this is heated so heated.
Red White & Blues could have played all night long at The Steelhouse.... Love It Live!
To pick up your copy of 'Shine' - CLICK HERE