J.D.Simo And Bones Shake at Night People: Live Review
Words: Danny Thornton | Photos: Anthony Firmin
The eerie surreal surroundings of Manchester's Night People play host to tonight's musical adventures. A visually intriguing establishment which pairs red leather seats, twisty corridors and stripy red and black walls. I love the place having previously attending a weekly screening of the cult TV show Twin Peaks here but this is my first time checking out live music here. Let's see if they get it right!
Starting off proceedings tonight are Manchester's skeleton rattlers in chief Bones Shake. Before they took to the stage there were murmurs about the crowd that perhaps these guys aren't the correct choice to be opening up this evening... well boy were they wrong.
Led to the stage by a loudspeaker clutching David Brennan Bones shake were like a spinning, spitting tornado desperately trying to stay on the stage and not tear the venue apart. Their set list was fantastic with the terrible threesome playing songs from 2019's Sermons (Cops, Cracked Lips, King Dicks) 2016's Junk (Shotgun) and a selection of others.
Singer David Brennan was on top form as always with his tortured Jim Morrison/holy man vibe enchanting the audience. Sometimes reading lyrics from a little black book, sometimes screaming them into his microphone while he rolls around the floor this man has rightly earned himself a reputation as one of the finest front men in Manchester. As always he was backed up by the Sheffield brothers; David with his brand of controlled chaos of the drums and Andy playing the slide guitar.
We here at Manchester Rocks have written before about just how good Bones Shake are, Andy Sheffield (Guitar) laughed and made an underhand quip about how his playing isn't technical. I'm calling him out on this; his fingerstyle blues guitar, sense of pitch when playing slide and the way with which he controls the feedback marks him out as a brilliant guitar player who's incredibly distinctive and accomplished within his own style. It takes a lot for a guitar player to impress me and he always does.
Headlining the evening tonight and drawing the majority of the crowd is American Blues master J.D.Simo who is on his first solo tour of the UK. As a personal favourite of blues Rock legend Joe Bonamassa I was eager to see what all the fuss was about.
Playing an eclectic mix of blues classics and his own material J.D.Simo dominated the stage, wearing a very appropriate "Hot Buttered Soul" t-shirt. His guitar playing was a joy to behold, soft and delicate at times, loud and raucous at others (think Warren Haynes) he is stunningly accomplished and I was shocked a player of his calibre was playing such an intimate show. Refreshingly too he is a player who isn't scared of using effects pedals, his use of the wah was great, adding texture in parts while helping make those great solo's scream when required. That wah was especially noticeable during a Curtis Mayfield inspired piece which was dripping with funk and soul and showed how versatile an artist he is.
His backing band were equally good, for the most part hanging back and letting J.D. dominate the proceedings but when time came for their solo spots boy did they show off their chops. Andraleia Buch’s bass playing dug a deep groove through the songs whilst Adam Abrashoff’s drumming was as solid as a brick.
Wrapping up the show was a spirited cover of With A Little Help From My Friends which went down a storm. Before exiting the stage J.D's message was a simple one "I hope that whatever you have taken away from tonight you feel a little better than when you walked in, which is what this is all about." A great sentiment especially in these trying times.