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Review: Band of Friends & Andy Fairweather-Low & The Low Riders, ABC O2, Glasgow – 22 January 2015

Have you heard the one about the Dutchman, the Irishman and the Scotsman…joined by a Frenchman that rocked out and blew the roof the ABCO2 Glasgow.  This evening always promised to more than a tribute to the great Irish blues man Rory Gallagher and they turned night into a homage to his musical spirit.

Band of Friends are a powerhouse of a trio with an amazing pedigree. Bass maestro Gerry McAvoy played on every album Rory ever made and with an array of acts including Champion Jack Dupree, Nine Below Zero and Deep Joy.

Drumming legend Ted McKenna played with Rory Gallagher from 1978-81 though is best known for his work with The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. He also played and recorded with Greg Lake of ELP, Gary Moore, Michael Schenker and Ian Gillan of Deep Purple.

Making up the band is Dutch Marcel Scherpenzeel (guitar/vocals) who grew up with Rory’s music and Gerry promises: “This is the closest guitarist to Rory you will ever hear” and boy did he show his prowess.

It was almost impossible to decipher what was an original, band written blues rocker or one of Rory’s own composition.

bands posterMid show they brought on, from Brittany, Dan Ar Braz who showed amazing skill on guitar and added another layer to the sound. Dan is joined on stage, for a soft duo instrumental interlude this evening by Celtic Connections very own Donald Shaw for the beautiful “Qwertz Rory”.  It was a stunning evening of blues rock but the night’s shining star was Rory Gallagher.

Opening tonight was an act I have been longing to see for years and never seemed to get around to. Boy how I have missed out on a supreme showman!

Andy Fairweather-Low backed by one of the tightest bands I have seen in a long while; jumped musical genres for their 50 minute support slot, giving a very appreciative audience some instrumental Exotica, storming hot blues, 60’s covers (which I could take or leave) and two of his finest compositions, the title track from his classic 1974 album La Booga Rooga and the hit song I have grown up loving Wide Eyed and Legless.

At the start of the show he informed us that he’s been playing for 51 years now and usually gives a two and a half hour show like down on the Ferry where he has visited Glasgow for the last seven years.

I’ll be front of the queue next tour.

Tom Hamilton

The Music Loft/Celtic Music Blues Hour

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