I decided to wait a bit before writing this blog – to see if I still felt the same as I did on the night – and yes, I do, so here goes.
I had the pleasure of catching “Band of Friends” at a recent Rory Gallagher tribute festival. Band of Friends now consists of Gerry McAvoy on bass/backing vocals/storytelling, Ted McKenna on drums and Marcel Scherpenzeel on lead guitar & vocals.
When I heard they were operating as a three-piece I wasn’t sure if they would be able to make that work but I’m happy to admit I was wrong. The three-piece line up gives them plenty of room to improvise and they took it at every opportunity. They still kept quite close to the original arrangements but stretched them here and there – just enough to make it interesting and it really helped the set flow.
Another thing that really surprised me was the power they exuded. This is a real power trio. I remember Philo (Phil Lynott) once telling me his intention every night was to try to stick people to the back wall from the very first note. Well, it seems to me that these boys are singing from the same hymn sheet and if you intend to catch a gig in the future then you better be prepared for the same thing.
Don’t forget – Gerry & Ted are original members, so in fact they are playing the parts they wrote originally for these songs. In my opinion, that makes the current Band of Friends line up more a band than a tribute band. Marcel has learned every Rory lick & trick but still gives you the impression he’s putting it together in his own way and I liked that.
I suppose the litmus test [a test that uses a single indicator to prompt a decision] concerning any gig is – would you go again, to which I would answer – “yes, definitely”. Another test is, would you recommend it to others? Well, I’m writing this blog about it, so…!
There’s no doubt Rory knew how to pick good band members but I have no hesitation in saying if you put Gerry & Ted with just about anyone they’d make them sound good. This is one of the tightest and most powerful rhythm sections out there, full stop!
I grew up on this stuff – powerful blues-rock and rock ‘n’ roll and it’s been awhile since I got such a buzz from a gig. I don’t think I was the only one because there was definitely a smile all around the room and the conversation was overflowing!
Here’s a clip from the gig, which of course is more one-dimensional but it should help to give you a rough idea of what went down on the night.