The 20th Annual British Rory Gallagher Tribute Concert
Rory Gallagher was the People's Guitarist. Unassuming but tenacious, the Irish blues man devoted his life to touring and playing his beloved Fender Stratocaster to adoring audiences. He never stopped working, and could always command a crowd, but resolutely eschewed the trappings of superstardom.
Born in Ballyshannon, Donegal and raised in Cork, Rory Gallagher fused Celtic influences, Country Blues and Rock and Roll into a burst of on-stage energy that could go on for three or four hours – Rory never disappointed his fans, they all came out of the theatre - which in Manchester included the Free Trade Hall, Apollo, Palace, and International - tired, sweaty and happy.
His followers were - and still are - devoted to him, so much so that there are tribute concerts and festivals in honour of him across Europe, Scandinavia and America. But it all started in Manchester! - June 14th 1996 was the date and 'The Pomona' was the venue – a famous Gorton music venue now, sadly in a bad state of repair.
Don't look for any famous names at this gig, the musicians on stage are all devoted fans that have studied the feel and technique of Rory's playing and singing. Nobody can be Rory, that is a fact, but these guys put on a fantastic show, and you will be as hooked as the rest of the audience at the end of the night! The organisers work tirelessly to bring you the best of Rory's music from the best in the world!
The venue this year The Ruby Lounge is located in Manchester's trendy Northern Quarter. There are hotels to suit all budgets, great restaurants - including the best Sunday afternoon Nehari curry this side of Lahore at the cafe Marhaba on Back Piccadilly - and the best pubs in the city in case you want to limber up before the gig.
Doors open at 4PM and we will have the music rocking by 4:30 so don't hang about, and make sure to stuff your faces full of food before you come in because you won't be able to leave the gig at any point - the acts are just too good!
After the gig there will be a soul and R&B - our type of R&B - disco so you can carry on revelling, drinking and dancing into the wee small hours!
Sinnerboy (UK) The band that is generally regarded as the most passionate followers of Rory's music, Sinnerboy play with fire in their bellies, never being afraid to change the music in mid flow to respond to the audiences feelings. Barry Barnes (Guitar and vocals) David Smylie (Bass) and Steve Richardson (Drums) make up this most un-tribute-band-like tribute band!
“Sinnerboy, named after one of Rory's best loved songs, keep Gallagher's music alive and kicking. Gallagher's songs are often complex, with subtle passages seamlessly blended with pounding, rocking sections and difficult chord and rhythm changes. It takes a hugely talented band to pull off a fitting tribute - Sinnerboy are that band. I have seen some great bands courtesy of Newbury Rock & Blues but this was the first time I witnessed the audience spontaneously get to their feet to give a standing ovation then refuse to allow the band off stage. Sinnerboy captured the live sound of Rory Gallagher and their love for the music they play was clear to see. This was quite simply an evening of great musicians playing great music to a highly appreciative audience.” Brian Harrington
Jaques Stotzem (Belgium) In the acoustic guitar world today, Jacques Stotzem is one of the “fingerstyle” guitarists with the most diversified style. Born in 1959 in Verviers, the Belgian guitarist has recorded 13 CDs and is high up on the list for fans of the acoustic guitar. Readers of the influential German acoustic guitar magazine «Akustik Gitarre» have likened Stotzem to artists such as Leo Kottke, Paco De Lucia, Neil Young and Keb’ Mo’.
That’s not really astonishing. His unique and highly refined playing style combines a well-developed melodic sense with a rare dynamic approach to the instrument that speaks directly to the listener. Jacques, unlike many guitar players today, possesses an in-depth sense of harmonic knowledge, which is evident throughout his compositions. All of this is cemented together by his perfect command of the instrument and by his optimistic personality. Jacques Stotzem has become a regular guest at European and American festivals and is often invited for tours in Japan, China or Taiwan. Since 2006, the famous American guitar company “Martin Guitar”, produces an “OMC Jacques Stotzem Custom Signature Model”, a dream for every guitar player, a consecration for Jacques.
The two volumes of his CD “Catch the Spirit” (Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher, Nirvana, Neil Young arranged on acoustic guitar) have been a big success and stayed respectively 41 and 23 weeks in the Belgian Pop Charts. In 2015, Jacques Stotzem released a new CD “Fingerstyle Tribute to Rory Gallagher” to celebrate the sad passing 20 years ago of the Irish Blues-Rock player who has always been one of Jacques’ favourite guitar players.
Fall Apart (Germany) Not for no reason is Volkhard Schuster known as 'The Professor' on the Rory tribute scene. Volkhard's technique, flair and taste on the guitar is remarkable. Also of Germany's 'The Loop' he's joined on stage by our old chum Stefan 'Kugie' Kugler from 'Remember Rory' on bass and Markus Vorderer on drums.
Stefan spent ten years rocking in Remember Rory, racking up lots of European tours and building a following amongst the Gallagher fans. The guys have the luxury of several drummers to choose from and Markus also plays with Kugie in AM/FM, one of Europe's finest AC/DC bands. The guys mix passion and interesting takes on Rory's music with fun on stage, no rehearsals, no bullshit, just playing live and feeling the moment – that's 'Fall Apart'
The Aiden Pryor Band (UK) Aiden Pryor fronts his band of the same name (or APB to his dedicated followers) as the singer and lead guitarist. Having been around live music his whole life in a family of musicians he found at 21 his love of playing guitar. Listening to the CDs and vinyl lying around home he soon appreciated the style and technique of Albert Collins, Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
His real turning point was when he put Rory Gallagher through his speakers and something came alive in him, playing at a local jam when still very raw, he attempted his first complete song singing and playing Tattooed Lady, He went down a storm and never looked back. Aiden performes locally with just a bass player and drummer and recreates the sound of an era that not only drew in the over 50s, who appreciated the return to their youth, but also introduced the wonderful vibe of blues rock guitar to a new generation. Still a young guy at 26 Aiden is starting to get known by Rory fans who travel to his gigs to feel his passion for his hero. Performing covers by Rory and others such as Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Philip Sayce interspersed with his own songs. APB gigs are exciting, driven and well, Roryfied!
Words: Barry Barnes