Monday, 26 September 2016

WILLE & THE BANDITS – LIVE REVIEW

Wille & The Bandits live at Looe Music Festival, Cornwall – 25/09/2016 
Wille & The Bandits 


Take three immensely talented musicians, put them on the main stage of a festival on a beach in the penultimate slot of the weekend and give them just enough wind to make the dry ice that little bit more dramatic. That, right there, is the perfect recipe for the perfect end to a summer of music. Cornish trio Wille & The Bandits were on the tongue of many festival goer as I wended my way through the narrow streets of Looe to the main stage for my first taste of the live experience and it was so worth the wait.

Unassuming in their initial stage presence, the three amigos took to the stage and frontman Wille sat down stage left prompting my brain to instinctively think “oh, he’s sitting down, they’re going to start with a slow one” (shut up brain, stop being so predictable). No, what actually erupted from the stage was a bluesy, rootsy and thoroughly earthy rumble of primal rhythms, super slick bass licks and the kind of wailing guitar we haven’t heard since John Lee Hooker first took finger to string. Then there’s the voice; Wille Edwards’ vocal style is part hoary old blues purist and part 90s grunge heartthrob – like Eddie Vedder but with real problems to sing about. Once I had returned to the balls of my feet, having been rocked on to my heels, I couldn’t help but be swept away by this triple threat of talent.

But don’t go thinking this is a one dimensional prospect, oh hell no. Moving effortlessly between lap steel and acoustic, bass and upright, full kit and djembe, all three musicians show off exactly why they are so highly thought of and why cutting your teeth on the live circuit in the Westcountry with nothing but a van and sense of purpose can give you just the grounding you need (see their tune ‘Living Free’ for reference). And then there’s the genre shifting like some kind of musical Chameleon; Hard Rock? Check. Roots? Check. Blues? Check. Grunge? You betcha. Sounding like Jamiroquai before they got all obsessed with hats and actually gave a shit about the world? Sometimes. Squeezing in a bit Peter Green and Carlos Santana? Why not.

The crowd lapped it up and Wille & The Bandits thrived on the crowd, just the way it should be. The band now embark on a month long tour around the UK to coincide with the release of their new album, ‘Steal’, and I can’t urge you enough to get out and catch them live. Oh, and if you need any more convincing of the band’s universal appeal, I had an extremely animated two-year-old on my shoulders through the whole set and went home with someone who normally only listens to Madonna saying “I really enjoyed that” (for clarity this is my family, I don’t just steal children at festivals as a way to pick up chicks). Anyway, I digress, Wille & The Bandits are ace. That it is all.


Live Dates:

1st October – Westcoast Bar, Margate
2nd October – Junction 2, Cambridge
4th October – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
5th October – The Venue, Derby
6th October – The Donkey, Leicester
7th October – British Legion Hall, Louth
8th October – The Jericho, Oxford
9th October – Esquires, Bedford
12th October – The Brudenell, Leeds
13th October – Victoria Hall, Settle
14th October – Cluny 2, Newcastle
15th October – The Continental, Preston
16th October – The Wightman, Shrewsbury
19th October – The Winchester, Bournemouth
20th October – The Cavern, Exeter
21st October – The Junction, Plymouth
22nd October – Factory Petroc, Barnstaple
25th October – The Bassment, Chelmsford
26th October – Talking Heads, Southampton
27th October – Sticky Mike’s, Brighton
28th October – 100 Club, London
29th October – The Thekla, Bristol
30th October – West Coast Arts, Tenby

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