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Tuesday 21 September 2021

A View From The Back Of The Room: Robert Jon & The Wreck (Live Review By Matt Bladen)

Robert Jon & The Wreck with Troy Redfern, The Globe Cardiff, 16 September 2021

So my first gig at The Globe since 2019, was with Californian Southern flavoured blues rock band Robert Jon & The Wreck, a band whose latest album I had very much enjoyed when it was released a few weeks earlier. This was the first date of their UK tour and The Globe stood about half full on an evening where Biffy Clyro and Busted were both playing the capital. While looking around the room there was pretty much the same faces that you see at most of these gigs, a hardcore collection of blues rock lovers ready for the first every UK tour by Robert Jon Burrison and his excellent band. 

Before all that though it was time for the support, which came from Troy Redfern (7) the British slide guitar specialist was without his band playing a solo set armed with two Resonator guitars and a kick drum, drawing from his extensive back catalogue to rework the songs into a solo format. Troy has some serious chops, the slide guitar playing bolstered by the steel guitars, while he played wild and reckless with the vocals the limited stage space allowing him to manipulate the mic by moving back and forth as the guitars rung out and the kick drum pounded. It was more than enough to rile up the blood ready for the headliners, with the band themselves taking a look during his set. Something reciprocated while they played as Troy cut a cool figure with myself at the back of the room. 

A swift switchover and the five members of The Wreck took to the stage Steve Maggiora (keys) and Warren Murrell (bass), tucked in tight towards the side of the stage, Steve fluidly moving across the keys as things got started with The Devil Is My Only Friend, Warren and his sunglasses kicking out the initial jams with Andrew Espantman (drums) laying down a steady groove. Robert Jon's vocals are rough and soulful, delivering Hey Hey Mama and the big ballad Oh Miss Carolina, while his rhythm guitar links with the drums and bass while also adding some Allman Bros dual leads with lead guitarist Henry James. I'll just take a moment here to appreciate just how good James is a guitarist, his brilliant solos meant that on stage Robert Jon & The Wreck (8) have much longer songs, turning into a jam group similar to The Allman Bros and fellow Californians The Grateful Dead on Blame It On The Whiskey especially. 

There set covered all of their discography, the majority coming from 2015's Glory Bound and 2020's Last Light On The Highway. With the crowd cheering every song and the band clearly having a ball, it was a very strong opening to their UK tour which will see them snake their way around the UK ending this weekend. If you can check them out as they are a seriously good Southern blues band.   

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