Gig review: DATURA4 – CherryDon, Marseilles, 6 October 2019

Five Australians blokes walk into a bar in Marseilles on a Sunday night……and just kill it. Having appreciated these guys from a distance and reviewed Datura4’s excellent trio of albums (Demon Blues, Hairy Mountain and Blessed Is The Boogie), GRTR!’s almost-fearless correspondant was not going to pass up the chance to see a cool band from Fremantle, Western Australia playing ten minutes down the road (okay, it’s a two hour drive but relative to Fremantle…a short hop).

Damn fine it was too. Now, Sunday nights in a Marseilles suburb of this musically-snooty, jazz-masturbatin’ nation is a tough nut to crack for anyone, let alone a bunch of Antipodean blues rockers – it’s also right in the middle of the journey from a handful of Italian gigs to a handful of Spanish gigs so why not, right ? And therein lies the cut of Datura4s jib – fronted by long-time Aussie journeyman guitar-slinger and singer/songwriter, Dom Mariani – build the band’s European footprint bit-by-bit, give us 90 minutes of your time and as you wave our bus westward, we’ll leave you thinking “merde, what the fuck just happened ?”.

The nicely balanced set drew heavily on the newest album, Blessed Is The Boogie, and featured pacey rockers like “Ooh Poo Pah Doo”, the title track and “Run With Lucy” as well as spacey beauties “City of Lights”, “Not For Me” and “Evil People Pt.2”. The inclusion of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” may be a personal favorite of the band……my only criticism – Datura4 (of which there are five) have enough slammin’ original material to not do covers. That’s picky, isn’t it ?

Truth is you know you dig a band when you love the set and drive home listing the ones they didn’t play. “Confide In Me” from Hairy Mountain morphed into a punchy 12-bar jam and “Demon Blues” demonstrated Datura4’s ability to do dirty and dark as well as the power-pop which is clearly part of Mariani’s DNA. Spooky to me how much Mariani in full vocal flow, facially and “hirsutically” resembles very early ‘70s-era Joe Cocker.

Some Fremantle-based, philosophical Aussie poet years ago said: “it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll”. If he was still with us, he might have added “and it’s a fucking crowded space these days but make sure you go see Datura4”.

This was my second time doing the Marseilles trek – both times to see an honest and proper blues rock band do their thing – and I loved it both times. Now what was the name of that other band ? Oh yeah, The Rolling Stones – so I’ve got a 100% record of seeing top quality gigs over there.

Credit to Datura4 for taking this to the people and being prepared to conquer Europe, one room at a time. Remember back when word of mouth built reputations ? A roomful of Sunday-night converts in Marseilles will be speaking approvingly in tongues to their jazz-confused neighbors for a while about this.

Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 30 August 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 8 September 2020.

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