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Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
21st October 2014

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

simon mcbride

Simon McBride is often mentioned in the same breath as those other fiery bluesy guitar players from Ireland, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore so it always surprises me how small the venues are that he plays.

I guess the public profile hasn't quite matched the reputation yet so on this occasion it was as part of a well run regular blues night at Edinburgh's picturesque Voodoo Rooms that the current Belfast blues maestro played his only Scottish date on this tour.

Being a blues show there was no prima donna preamble or flashy entrance, the band just wandered on to the stage, someone shouted a joke about Mr McBride's remarkably spiky hair which was taken in good humour and then we were off into rocking blues land.

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While there is no flash about the entrance there is plenty of it in evidence in the guitar playing masterclass we get tonight. From the off there are fast fluid runs, searing fiery blasts of notes and an energy that takes McBride from blues very much into the land of rock. Of course he's no slouch on the vocal front either with a warm, rich tone and he can write a good song or two as well.

There is no new album to promote so the set was still dominated by songs from 2012's excellent 'Crossing The Line' including 'One More Try' with its Moore-esque hookline and the pounding rock riff of 'Don't Be A Fool'. Older material was well catered for too with a great extended work outs on 'Take My Hand' and 'So Much Love To Give' which at times reminded me of the heavy blues the likes of Led Zeppelin and even Grand Funk Railroad were blasting out in the late sixties and early seventies.

simon mcbride

Given it was a blues club crowd with a lot of grey hair around it was no surprise that a cracking version of Hendrix's 'Little Wing' got a special cheer. However this WAS a modern version of the blues as this charming man from Northern Ireland has an aggressive, attacking style of playing and uses one of the biggest effects boards I've seen in from any guitarist in any genre.

He really knows how to use those effects too. The traditional two piece backing band were of course excellent and drummer Paul Hughes might look like he's channeling his inner Mitch Mitchell but he is also controlling the samples of keyboards and other effects used to fill out the sound at times.

This was another really good gig from a true master of both the blues and his guitar, he has high standards and I doubt he ever drops far from his best which is very, very good indeed. I just felt it was a shame such a talent was only seen by a room full of enthusiasts and not on a bigger stage somewhere.

He thoroughly deserves to be heard by more people and be up there with the Bonamassa's of this world.

simon mcbride

Line up:
Simon McBride: Vocals/Guitar
Paul Hamilton: Drums
Gareth Hughes: Bass


simon mcbride

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