Gig review: ROYAL SOUTHERN BROTHERHOOD, CANDY KANE BAND, TEXAS CANNONBALLS – Relache Festival, Bordeaux, 12 July 2015

Royal Southern Brotherhood -  Relache Festival, Bordeaux, 12 July 2015

As Candy Kane tells the crowd, the French have always supported music and the arts, and tonight it seems they are supporting an American blues export drive it.

Texas Cannonballs do what it says on the tin. You can take the boys out of Texas, but they never lose their musical heritage.

Hector Watt is a magnificent rhythm guitarist with a lived-in, growled out vocals and Chicago native Dave Herrero bring presence to bear on roadhouse rocking with muscular solo’s and a resonant voice.

Texas Canonballs -  Relache Festival, Bordeaux, 12 July 2015

The whole unit is held together by the formidable Austin based player/vocalist Bret Coats. They play the real stuff that originally gave Austin its name as a musical hotbed. They also play a rocking number called ‘Texas Tumbleweed’, which neatly sums up their style.

Texas Canonballs -  Relache Festival, Bordeaux, 12 July 2015

Candy Kane is a crowd pleaser, big on image, essential communication and good time rocking. She’s a self confessed white trash girl with a limited vocal, but she surrounds herself with a mighty band. Laura Chavez, is surely one of the most underrated rocking guitar players on the planet.

She explores gnawing, sparse and ringing tones and contrasting bass string licks of such resonance, that you patiently wait for them to complete an arc above your head, before they gently return to earth and the band returns to the song.

Candy Kane -  Relache Festival, Bordeaux, 12 July 2015

Her ascending guitar lines are intense enough to transform even the most mundane song into something essential, while man mountain Bobby Abarca’s booming bass shakes the stage to its foundations.

All the band’s elements are perfectly captured on ‘Superhero’, the kind of inspirational song that perfectly defines the unique persona of Candy Kane.

Royal Southern Brotherhood -  Relache Festival, Bordeaux, 12 July 2015

If Royal Southern Brotherhood had a mountain to climb, they did so with plenty to spare. Put simply, they came, they saw and they conquered.

If they regard the summer festival season as a test drive for the new model, it doesn’t, show, their blistering set is big on solos, tightly wrapped dynamics and lots of soul.

Royal Southern Brotherhood -  Relache Festival, Bordeaux, 12 July 2015

They strut, they funk, they rock and roll and above all they ‘Don’t Look Back’. Tyrone Vaughan is an object lesson in cool – all fluid solos with intricate notes, while Bart Walker is a blunderbuss guitarist with an angelic, soulful voice.

The band light the blue touch paper as the dervish like Cyril Neville launches himself into ‘Don’t Look Back’ and the band take thing up a level on the huge sounding ‘Reach My Goal.’  If there’s a better band on the blues circuit at present I haven’t heard them.

Review by Pete Feenstra
Photos by Anne Pioton

Relache Festival, Bordeaux, 12 July 2015


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Featured Albums w/c 12 October (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 BROTHER FIRETRIBE Feel The Burn (Nuclear Blast)
12:00-13:00 BLUE OYSTER CULT The Symbol Remains (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 SHEMEKIA COPELAND Uncivil War (Alligator)

Power Plays w/c 12 October (Mon-Fri)

HELLZ We Want Rock (indie)
WHEN RIVERS MEET Battleground (indie)
UNCUT Family Blues (indie)
MIKE ROSS Don’t Say A Word (Taller Records)
CORY MARKS Blame It On The Double (indie)
MASON HILL Against The Wall (indie)
CATS IN SPACE Revolution (Harmony Factory)



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