14 April 2017 (gig)
15 April 2017
Last night’s show at the New Crawdaddy in Billericay featured the new lineup of Red Butler, the first chance I’ve had to see them since their new vocalist Dan Spellman joined the band.
A more radical change I couldn’t have imagined but all to the good as he is a superb vocalist – in a cheeky chappy sort of way – and gives the band a more powerful and dynamic presence on stage.
To be honest, I didn’t go with the intention of reviewing the show, I just wanted to enjoy a young and upwardly mobile band, but the quality of their show and the sheer enjoyment that they and the audience shared made it impossible not to.
The band has had a spectacular start to their life, winning awards all over the UK and Europe and building a Europe-wide presence and it was easy to see why as soon as they hit the stage. The two guitars work in perfect harmony and the addition of Dan Spellman allows Alex Butler to really open up and show the chops he is becoming legendary for – one of the best guitarists I’ve heard in a long while. They look good too with the left/right handed combo of the guitars and bass player Mike Topp all flowing locks and throwing classic poses . They move around the stage with ease, not necessarily in a practised manner but having the confidence to have little asides to each other and using the space to make a show of their set.
The theatricality of ‘The Wolf’ is definitely a feature of their youth and enthiusiasm.
But the most important thing is the music and all forur of them are good enough to make Blues sound fresh and alive. The back line of Mike Topp and drummer Charlie Simpson is fuid and complement each other, making a far more musical feature than many and backing the melodies.
The material included a few covers – some Buddy Guy here or Zeppelin there – and their cover of Rag N Bone Man’s ‘Human’ was superb (they are fellow inhabitants of Uckfield and close friends).
The crowd was suitably enthused by the performance and it has to go down as one of those special nights at New Crawdaddy. The band are touring and if you get the chance to see them while they are still playing venues this small.