Danny Bryant’s career is on the up escalator. In an age of orchestrated hype, Danny is the real deal. His unstinting road work and solid recording career has given way to more carefully chosen gigs and better produced albums. And if last year’s ‘Hurricane’ album provided him with a significant breakthrough, his first central London show for 10 years was all about building on that momentum with the launch of his new ‘Temperature Rising’ album.
Leading into this show, Danny had just completed an exhaustive 7 week American tour fronting Walter Trout’s band and he told us that he recently found himself at a gig in Norwich thanking a Nottingham crowd for being there!
So tonight is all about striking a balance between the past, present and future, with a show full of towering blues-rock, played with plenty of lots of bluster, passion and stoked by audience interaction.
‘Prisoner of the Blues’ is a burgeoning opener which segues into the equally hard hitting ‘Take Me Higher’ with a booming chorus.
He veers from bone crunching blues-rock played with real brio, to heartfelt power ballads with evocative tones. ‘For the Love of Angels’ is a good example, and it cleverly segues into Dylan’s ‘One More Cup of Coffee’.
‘Heartbreaker’ provides the pivotal moment as the set catches fire – all caustic note repeats and long sustained notes – while the riff heavy ‘Best Of Me’ and the sledgehammer ‘Goodtime Woman’ both connect with the headbangers at the front. He dedicates Dylan’s ‘Girl From The North Country’ to his mentor Walter Trout, and impresses us with a delicate solo full of tremulous notes and deeply wrought violin sounds.
The set builds up by degrees, with a variety of solo’s spanning big crunching chords and contrasting shrill notes, and it all leads seamlessly into ‘Guntown’ the highlight of the evening.
Danny tells us it is his favourite song on the album and it quickly becomes apparent why. A characteristically slow building ballad full of resonant notes with an intrinsic dynamic, the song reaches fever pitch with a sudden stop-time pause on which Danny looks out at the crowd as if it ask: “did you cop that?”
He breaks the collective cathartic release by teasing out some more intricate notes before raising the temperature once more on the booming ‘Razor Sharp’, complete with a triumphant crescendo.
There’s still time for some audience ‘call and response’ on ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’ and he wraps things up with the heavy groove of ‘Greenwood 31’, which he dedicates to the late Hubert Sumlin and fills with long linear notes.
Drawing on a tennis metaphor, tonight may have felt like he’s been taken to 5 sets, but a combination of strong material, great playing and an enthusiastic crowd enables him to lift his final volley over the net.
Review by Pete Feenstra
Photos by Jim Templeton Cross (1-3) /Photos by Noel Buckley (4-5)
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