I’ve said it on these pages before, but it never hurts to repeat oneself, Dan Patlansky’s ‘Dear silence thieves’ is one of the best albums of the year. A rip-roaring, gasoline-soaked blast of an album, it opens with the stunning ‘backbite’ and rarely lets its foot off the pedal from there, with Dan demonstrating a mastery of both his instrument and song-writing craft. It is a remarkable album, a joy to listen to, and it’s been on repeat since it first appeared at SonicAbuse.
It should be no surprise at all, then, that Dan Patlansky’s first proper UK show is conducted in front of an audience so large that it feels that the Borderline is about to burst. Hotter than Dante’s inferno, busier than the tube at rush hour, the Borderline is so full that even a simple act like getting a drink involves turning oneself into a contortionist and writhing around (and even over) bodies packed into the small space in front of the stage.
Opening for Dan is the charismatic Tristan MacKay playing a wonderfully contrasting acoustic set that includes choice cuts from his latest album ‘wire and wood’. Highlights of the set include the gently melancholy ‘wine and me’, ‘wire and wood’ itself and ‘you win again’ whilst Tristan keeps the audience’s attention by relating the stories behind the music. Noting that his second album was, unfortunately, launched alongside the work of the ubiquitous Seasick Steve and thus relegated to number three in the blues chart, Tristan is both wonderfully open and wryly humorous about his work and his assured banter only adds to the show. The absolute gem of his performance is ‘million little things’, a simple, elegant expression of love that damn near breaks the heart, even if a small group of Muppets in the audience clearly misunderstood the album title ‘dear silence thieves’ and insist on maintaining a low conversation throughout. I had not come across Tristan before, but I look forward to following his career from now on and if you have not yet come across his work, I cannot urge you strongly enough to rectify that situation immediately.
By the time Dan takes to the stage, yet more people have crammed into the borderline and the venue is starting to resemble a giant kettle with steam rising from the increasingly excited audience. Dan’s entrance is greeted by massive roars and he responds by delivering a brief solo before tearing into an enormous, ear-drum splitting rendition of album opener ‘backbite’. It’s an adrenalin rush of monolithic proportions and before you know it, Dan and his band are tearing into ‘taking chances’. Another highlight of the album, ‘pop collar jockey’ is next and it transpires the title refers to that particular breed of large men who wear a size of shirt at least three times too small or their steroid enhanced biceps and insist on keeping their collar up. One such individual apparently thumped Dan, and this grinding blues workout is his admirable revenge. A beautiful slow blues follows with the elegant ‘your war’ and Dan isn’t quite done with tugging at the heartstrings because ‘hold on’ follows immediately after. It’s a breath taking display with Dan and his band oozing confidence as they tear through song after song from ‘dear silence thieves. Little space is offered for a breather, although the acoustic ‘feels like home’ sees the band take a step back as Dan delivers the song solo. The only shame is that the stunning ballad ‘windmills in the sea’ is left off the set, but such is the energy of the night, perhaps Dan felt it would slow things down a touch too much, and this is not a night to let the energy levels drop.
The main set ends with Dan displaying his utter mastery of his instrument as he unleashes a crushing instrumental version of Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Chile’. An entirely unfettered performance, it sees Dan playing his guitar front and back with a skill that threatens to see grown men running from the audience in order to destroy their guitars in despair. It is a genuine tour de force and it leaves the audience with its collective mouth agape. Few artists would dare to shred so iconic a song in such a way, and yet for Dan it not only looks natural, he does much to make the track his own. A brief break (filled with cries for one more song) is followed by a blistering finale of ‘fetch your spade’ and ‘backbite (reprise)’ and artist and audience alike are left drained.
Dan Patlansky is an artist who is set to win numerous plaudits this year for his stunning ‘dear silence thieves’. Sadly the social message in the album’s title is blithely ignored by at least a few people in the audience whose IQ is clearly only just surpassed by the number of digits on their hands but that small gripe aside it is a cracking gig. Indeed, the Borderline show was one for the history books, a genuine “I was there” moment for contemporary blues, and there is no doubt in my mind that this talented, charismatic artist is only going to get better as his audience expands. Dan is on tour for a few select dates in May and then back at the end of the year with Joe Satriani –don’t miss him .
Amazing live shots courtesy of Stephen Fourie
DAN PATLANSKY APRIL/MAY 2015 UK TOUR DATES
SHEFFIELD, GREYSTONES TUESDAY 28th APRIL 2015 Tickets: £13.20 / 24 Hour Box Office: 0844 478 0898 Book Online: thegigcartel.com Address: Greystones Road, Sheffield, S11 7BS, S11 7BS
YORK, FIBBERS THURSDAY 30th APRIL 2015 Tickets: £13.20 / 24 Hour Box Office: 0844 478 0898 Book Online: thegigcartel.com Address: 3 Toft Green, York YO1 6JT
STOCKTON MUSIC LOUNGE Friday 1st May Tickets are £3 in advance plus booking fee or £5 on the door Book Tickets Onliine from EventBrite.co.uk Tel: 07891 343 534 21-d Yarm Lane Stockon-on-Tees, TS18 3DR Facebook Page www.musicloungestockton.co.uk
GJ’S – WANDSWORTH Sunday 3rd May Charity Event for Save the Rhinos All tickets: £10 (£4 goes towards the Save The Rhinos charity) Tel: 075 4917 8401 Book tickets online from: www.braai365.com 89 Garratt Lane, Wandsworth, South London, SW18 4DW www.gj-s.com
PORTSMOUTH, THE CELLARS MONDAY 4th MAY 2015 Tickets: £13.00 Book Online: musicglue.com Address: 56 Cromwell Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, PO4 9PN
BRISTOL, THUNDERBOLT WEDNESDAY 6th MAY 2015 Tickets: £8.75 Book Online: bristolticketshop.co.uk Address: 124 Bath Road, Bristol, Avon, BS4 3ED
POOLE, MR KYPS THURSDAY 7th MAY 2015 DOUBLE HEADLINE SHOW WITH LAURENCE JONES Tickets: £5.00 / Box Office: 01202 748 945 Book Online: mrkyps.net Address: 8a Parr Street, Poole, Dorset, BH14 0JY
Joe Satriani November 2015 UK Tour
with special guest Dan Patlansky
Manchester o2 Apollo Sunday November 1
Birmingham Symphony Hall Monday November 2
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall Tuesday November 3
Sheffield City Hall Wednesday November 4
Cardiff St. David’s Hall Thursday November 5
Southend Cliffs Pavilion Saturday November 7
Bristol Colston Hall Sunday November 8
Portsmouth Guildhall Monday November 9
London Eventim Hammersmith Apollo Tuesday November 10
Ticket hotline: 0844 888 9991, Book online: ticketline.co.uk