Gig review: DAN PATLANSKY – Jazz Café, London, 9 June 2016
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South Africa may not be known as a hot bed of blues rock talent, but in Dan Patlansky they have a serious prospect.
Patlansky has raised his profile with recent successful tours opening up for Joe Satriani and King King. This Jazz Café gig was part of his own headlining tour and a healthy crowd had pitched up, though the venue was far from packed.
The gig kicked off with the instrumental ‘Drone’, which neatly showcased Patlansky’s use of light and shade, calm and frenzy, which surfaced elsewhere a number of times.
Without a pause, the band drove into the edgy and tough sounding ‘Sonnava Faith’, where Patlansky gave full vent to his gravelly vocals and fiery lead breaks. In fact the whole sound was heavier than I was anticipating. Patlansky’s delivery was raw and powerful for much of the night, veins standing out on his neck with the effort.
‘Bring The World To Its Knees’ continued the theme. It was a leviathan of a track, shovelled along by a brutal, lumbering bass and plenty of bottom end guitar.
There was plenty of opportunity for Patlansky to display his dextrous blues-inspired playing on rocky tracks like ‘Run’, and ‘Loosen Up The Grip’. Variety came with ‘Bet On Me’ featuring a big vocal hook and some warm Hammond keyboard touches. These three, like the majority of tonight’s set, came from his best, most complete album to date, ‘Introvertigo’ released in May.
The very full, deep sound was achieved with only one guitar, but Patlansky was ably backed up by Clint Falconer with some rumbling bass lines and some mean looking scowls. The band was completed by Andy Maritz on drums and Rami Jaffe on keyboards.
Patlansky knew how to take things down too. ‘Still Wanna Be Your Man’ was the highlight of the gig. With hints of cool jazz blues (appropriate to this fine venue), time and mood changes and a slew of descending chords to make the hairs on the back of the neck stand up. The vocal harmonies stood out here too. Great track.
As if to emphasise the versatility of the songwriting and playing, ‘Western Decay’ was loaded with funky bass and keyboard grooves. As was ‘My Chana’ a bit later. I was half expecting to see Nile Rogers lurking at the back of the stage.
Patlansky used a lot of wah-wah effects on his extended solos on these tracks and elsewhere. It is easy to see why the comparisons with Stevie Ray Vaughan are regularly made. That’s no bad benchmark to be drawn against.
The songs that got the most enthusiastic crowd reaction were the two best known from 2014’s ‘Dear Silence Thieves’: the riff-driven ‘Hold On; and the infectious ‘Backbite’ which had spontaneous outbreaks of actual dancing across the floor.
Patlansky closed out the set with some incendiary playing and a dose of proper showboating as he whipped the guitar around his body and held it by the headstock whilst staying in tune. He had a neat trick of plucking the strings through the plate on the back of the guitar. Visually impressive.
There was a lot to love in the show and Patlansky is clearly going places. He probably has a little to learn about stage craft and connecting with the audience, but that’s just a minor point on a night that was all about the strength of his songs as his eclectic playing.
Review by Dave Atkinson
Photos by Paul Clampin