Can da blooze get much heavier than this? Martin Longley doesn’t think so.
Only 20 minutes before stage-time, Danny Bryant’s wife woke him up and reminded the bluesman that he had a gig to play. This 34-year-old English singer and guitar-slinger had just flown back from a five-week Stateside tour where he was fronting Walter Trout’s band, while that esteemed blues-rocker was getting used to his new liver.
Startled into motion, there wasn’t much sign of such a recent slumber, once Bryant lurched into power-blues hurricane mode. Like Trout, he skirts the tender line between disappointing hardcore blues fans with rawk bombast, or sounding too rootsy for the mainline metal-greasers.
Yes, Bryant sometimes slips into bloated lovelorn ballad blandness, but his lumbering, sludgy guitar sound is ever-present, grinding out a bluntly heavy solo chunder. He’s not massively interested in any squealing high-note picking, instead concentrating on a mid-line gush of gruffly heavy riffage, powerful in its urgent body-blow weight.
Bryant’s vocals rise above all this, suggesting a soul-blues root to his hollering yowl. The bass and drums trio partners don’t make any untoward moves, with the latter’s crashing snare often becoming too insistently dominant. Most of the songs were Bryant’s own, with Take Me Higher, a selection from his latest album (Temperature Rising, Jazzhaus 2014), being a particular grower. Meanwhile, Gun Town provided a gentler space for contemplation, at least before its guitar solo erupted.
Getting to the blues core, he threw in Hoochie Coochie Man (penned by Willie Dixon, dominated by Muddy Waters), and then proceeded to deliver surely the heaviest rendering of Bob Dylan’s Knocking On Heaven’s Door ever heard. Somewhat bullishly built, Bryant urged folks to purchase his fitness video at the merchandise stall, then issued another robust guitar solo, mean and frazzling as it spilled out from the stacks.