Federal Charm / Aaron Keylock / Simo - Talking Heads, Southampton (UK) - 16 November 2016
The new Talking Heads is without doubt one of the nicest venues in the country. The front bar maintains the shabby chic feel of the original venue but the main room is as hi-tech as bands could wish for. On arrival, Nashville band Simo have already taken to the stage. When Joe Bonamassa sets his seal of approval on a band you kind of know they are going to be something a bit special. They ooze Blues, Jazz, proper R&B, smatterings of Brit Rock and the drawl of Southern Boogie. This road-hardened band are slick and tight, JD Simo's playing is sublime, the feel and guitar tone are totally authentic. The set is largely songs from their first album 'Let Love Show The Way' and their raw, edgy style is certainly winning over new fans tonight as JD Simo's rhythmic chops howl around the room to collide with the roar of applause as they leave the stage.
Simo have set the bar high and there is raised expectation permeating the room as Aaron Keylock slinks onto the stage like a Rock 'n' Roll whippet and proceeds to unleash some heavy Blues in to the ether. There has been a resurgence of Blues among younger musicians recently, as though a generation has trawled through their parents' record collection one wet afternoon and discovered enlightenment.
Keylock discovered Rory Gallagher and over the following years has added his own Rock twist and delivers up with a high energy performance that has the audience sitting up and paying attention. Keylock plays like no one is watching, at times just engaging with his band and tuning everyone out and in doing so has them in the palm of his hand.
The final band of the evening is Federal Charm, a band of Mancunian impish scamps set on having a good time and bringing everyone along for the ride and they certainly set the venue alight. This is a quality set featuring songs from the new album including new single 'Silhouette'. Danny Bowden's voice has a gravelly authenticity and the band delivers audacious riffs with a dash of verve and backstreet sleaze.
The Planet Rock Roadstars Tour is well worth looking out for, you are getting a trio of very high end Modern Blues bands for little more than the cost of a round. It was a diamond treat of an evening.