First time I have been inside the legendary 100 Club on Oxford Street, which has been home to many jazz and blues musical legends, a fact the numerous framed photos of past performers there reinforces. An unusual set-up with the stage against the wall in the middle of a long, narrow oblong shaped basement and either side of the stage were tables and chairs.
A good sized crowd had assembled by the time Planet Rock DJ Paul Anthony did the honours in introducing the Dan Reed Network (DRN), promoting their first new studio album in 25 years, ‘Fight Another Day’.
It is 4/5ths of the original line-up – Dan Reed, guitarist Brion James, bassist Melvin Brannon II and drummer Dan Pred – joined by Rob Daiker on keyboards, who to be fair, looked like he had dropped out of one of the modern rock bands my daughter likes!
After an technical hitch with the intro tape, during which time Dan apologised for his country giving us Donald Trump (a reccurring theme during the course of the show), a big upbeat version of ‘Resurrect’ started things off nicely.
This was swiftly followed by ‘Under My Skin’ and on stage Dan and the band were revelling in each other’s musicianship and the crowd’s reaction. It was the last date of their current European tour so the gig had a fun air to it, which did lead to maybe a longer time between songs.
The funk rock beast that is ‘Infected’ was the first of the songs of the new album to make an appearance and it really came into its own live. The sound was a little rhythm heavy at the start of the gig, but by this song the guitar and keyboards could be heard in the mix.
I had not seen the DRN live before, however I did witness a moving and enjoyable solo gig by Dan at the Union Chapel a few years ago. Then he played a stripped down version of ‘Rainbow Child’ and tonight it was a real pleasure to hear a full band version. It is also guitarist’s Brion’s favourite song.
The crowd reacted more to the older songs as you’d expect, with ‘Ritual’ (Melvin and Dan Pred’s spot on rhythm really drives this song along) and ‘Tiger In A Dress’ getting the place jumping. Of the newer songs ‘Champion’ sounds good live, with a heartfelt vocal from Dan.
Intersesting take on ‘Save The World’ from the new album, which was performed calypso style and featured guitarist Brion on lead vocals.
Melvin’s bass amp was giving up the ghost but the band still finished on a high with ‘Get To You’. They seem fired up by tonight’s crowd reaction and promise to be back in the UK early next year.
DRN have plenty left to say and play judging by tonight’s gig. I would defy anyone to go a concert by them and not come away smiling and feeling uplifted.
Review by Jason Ritchie
Photos by Andy Nathan
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