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Sunday 10 March 2019

A View From The Back Of The Room: Wille & The Bandits

Wille & The Bandits & Rainbreakers, Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

A Thursday night and in change from the usual heaviness we have it was time for something a bit more laid back. Organised by those folks at Pity My Brain it was an evening of blues based rocking originally meant to be three bands on the night only two played so it was a great chance to watch two bands play elongated sets to show their prowess to a reasonably big audience most of whom were there on the back of the Wille & The Bandits being announced for Steelhouse festival. So grabbing a pint of Goose Ale (craft ale flows at Clwb Ifor Bach) it was time for the openers.

Shrewsbury four-piece Rainbreakers (7) are a blues band with a dash of rock n roll thrown in. They've been the main support for the whole tour and to be honest I can't think of a better opening act. They have a refreshing sound that melds modern sounds with the greats of the 60's blues in fact they're name is far too similar to John Mayall's Bluesbreakers for that to be a coincidence, there was also touches of the soulful sounds from Humble Pie and the grunge fuzziness of The Black Keys, they set a temperature in the room to a steady sizzle with the crowd receptive of their blues rock brassiness.

Though it was the main act that was got the room up to the boil coming on to the stage the Cornish trio immediately showed that they were extremely good musicians with frontman Wille Edwards moving between electric/acoustic guitars and his slide guitar on a rack, drummer Andy making full use of his and the various bits of percussion (including bongos and tabla drums) while Matt is a true bass virtuoso having 6-string bass which meant that they perfectly replicated tracks from their whole career with astonishing accuracy. Focussing mainly on the cracking new album Paths which rallies against the government a lot, Edwards even noting this during the gig, although he went against this with the paen to his daughter called Watch You Grow. It was a surprise that the funky Make Love coming early in the set, as Keep It On The Downlow (which had a snippet of Rapper's Delight) brought a savage bass solo (see told you he was a virtuosos).

Make Love was followed by a percussive freak out of Black Magic Woman (Peter Green), they also blazed a trail with Judgement Day. The band are known as being the purveyors of Acid World Rock so with this in mind they went back to the earlier part of their career, the elephant in the room of Wille's missing Top Hat reared its head, Edwards said it was in his loft and gave the punter in question to buy it. (the outcome of that offer has yet to be confirmed). To go back to their earlier sound Mammon brought the vibes of Led Zeppelin III with an upright electric double bass giving a throbbing rhythm and the acoustic guitar some world music beauty. Wille explained it was a seriously deep cut from when the band were acoustic before they developed into the rock band they are now.

The upright bass added a new dimension to the show with Middle Eastern influxes creeping in on Four Million Days over the blues and Latin rhythms that have come before. Problem is people proceed to talk all the way through Mammon and I know we keep going on about it but it's fucking rude! After the epic Four Million Days they powered into One Way which led to a guitar battle between guitar and bass, though they were nowhere near finished having quite a large catalogue they proceeded to rock Clwb Ifor Bach with a great set to an audience that had definitely been won round, with many now expecting big things up the Mountain from Wille & The Bandits (8). 

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