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Thursday, 5 July 2018

A View From The Back Of The Room: Thomas Wynn & The Believers (Live Review By Paul H)

Thomas Wynn And The Believers, Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

A few months ago, when the thought of searing relentless sun seemed an impossibility, we witnessed a superb set from Orlando six-piece Thomas Wynn And The Believers in front of a packed house at the O2 Academy in Bristol. A mere week or so after Ed Sheeran sold out four nights at the Principality Stadium, a paltry 16 people turned out for a night which oozed quality in every way. We arrived just as opening act Pat Dam Smyth was finishing his solo set but in plenty of time to see Darren Eedens & The Slim Pickin's (7) deliver a cracking main support. This was country rock with more emphasis on the country, the fiddle and banjo whisking you away to the good ol’ US of A for a 30 minute slice of the deep South. The four-piece had an interesting style with lead singer Eedens vocal style very much in the old school Buddy Holly vein. His banjo picking is something else mind, and the blue grass, blues and folk tunes were a delight. Ironically, Eedens is a Canadian who now lives in Cardiff, so at least he could walk home after the gig. Backed by Dave Grubb’s excellent fiddle and the simple but effective rhythm section of Rhys Morgan and Edd Clemas, this made a cracking change to our usual diet of thrashing guitars.

The main reason we attended though was for the headline band and Thomas Wynn And The Believers (9) were every bit as good as they were on that February night with their soul drenched Southern rock and blues sound to over an hour, we were treated to some superb music once again. Lead singer and guitarist Thomas Wynn demonstrated his quality with some superb guitar work, slide and lead whilst sister Olivia’s stunning vocals were crystal clear and captivating. The band took us on a journey through many tracks from their latest Wade Waist Deep release, with Chris "Bell" Antemesaris (Harmonica),

Dave Wagner (Bass), Ryan Miranda (drums) and Colin Fei (keys) all contributing to the entertainment. Antemesaris playa a mean harmonica and at times it was hard to break the spell of focusing on anyone else. Fei’s chunky Hammond sound underpinned the overall musical compositions and it was not a surprise when chatting to various members of the band afterwards to confirm that they had received a great reception at Ramblin’ Man Fair just a few days earlier. With one final date on their tour, at The Black Hart in London, the band were collectively on fire and this was demonstrated by a version of Springsteen’s Atlantic City, which for several our party was just fantastic. The band’s country sound was again enhanced by the intertwined synchronicity of the vocals whilst the rocker edge was also in evidence. As we welcomed the cooling night air at the end of another very hot gig, the only disappointment was how few punters had made the effort. How a band of this calibre draws so few when the bland mainstream fills stadiums remains a mystery to me.

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