Robben Ford - LIVE: Islington Academy, London 2015

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Into The Sun Tour
April 29 (20:30 - 22:15)
Capacity 800

Following the release of his latest album Into The Sun, Robben Ford was accompanied by Krissy Matthews at London's Islington Academy.

Matthew's opened the show with his first acoustic set of the year, comprised of both covers and originals. The young bluesman projected wild energy and feel throughout his performance, but the strength of said material, in combination with his vocal abilities, was not overly convincing. He should certainly be given credit for the kind of racket he made for one man, and his fret board work was additionally as gutsy and impressive, but it feels like Matthews currently falls into the same category as Ben Poole. A talented guitarist but offers little else to excite an audience between the guitar breaks or solos.

It was an early 20:30 by the time Ford relaxedly strolled on stage, sporting his noticeably shiny jacket, and began to casually tune up. It's that kind of air that surrounded the musician for the whole evening, as he easily laid down a master-class in blues, rock, jazz and everything in between. The guitarist's relaxed attitude seemed to rub off on the audience too, as other than rapturous applause between numbers and solos, silence appeared to befall the room. But the audience's answer of 'we're listening', when asked by Ford why they were so quiet, summed up the evening. It was genuinely a show where every moment was worth listening to.

The band opened the set with Rainbow Cover before performing another new track in the form of Howlin' At The Moon. The trend of playing new material was prevalent throughout the entirety of the set, with a total number of six of the fourteen tracks heralding from the Into The Sun. They were certainly a justifiable inclusion, considering how strong they are. Not only that, but with the a band like Robben's, in which many of the tracks are basis for instrumental passages, rehashing old favourites is not a necessity for a good show. For this kind of gig the audience is attracted to the show as much for instrumental purposes, as for hearing their favourite tracks. Still with that said, at least one track from Talk To Your Daughter would likely have gone down well with the audience, but the set in no way needed to bank on anything from that album.

When discussing an artist of Ford's calibre, throwing around descriptions like 'virtuoso' and 'master' seems inappropriately commonplace or perhaps a little lazy, but few other words come to mind. The feel and sensitivity of the entire band was second to none, with a genuinely supreme deliverance of instrumentals. A characteristic that became increasingly impressive when it was revealed that the first time the keys had rehearsed with the band, was earlier that day.

It's not often that audience leaves a venue without the slightest niggle of a complaint with what they have just witnessed, but Ford really was deserving of a glowing review. An utter joy to watch.

“ a show where every moment was worth listening to ”

Setlist: Rainbow Cover / Howlin' At The Moon / Midnight Comes Too Soon / Cut You Loose / Same Train / Rose of Sharon / Cannonball Shuffle / High Heels and Throwing Things / Indianola / Fool's Paradise / Cause of War // Nobody's Fault But Mine / Thoughtless / Lovin' Cup

Written by James Abel
More: 2015, Blues, Gigs,

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