A pre-release copy of The Rainbreakers latest four track EP 'Blood Not Brass' unexpectedly landed on my doormat several weeks ago. Always on the lookout for new music to play on the 'Rock On The Ridge' radio show, it was only a matter of seconds before the headphones were on and The Rainbreakers hit my ears full on.
Having been impressed by the music, I was really looking forward to seeing the band play live.
On the afternoon of BluesRockfest, Leo's Red Lion was basking in the heat of an unusually hot summer's afternoon, and the internal atmosphere was reminiscent of a scene from Jules Verne's 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth' as the band made their way onto the stage.
First on the bill, there was still the continuing loud buzz of conversation issuing from the assembled gathering as the opening notes of 'Bright Lights, Big City' were played. Although a cover, the band managed to imbue it with their own heavier and grittier sound - adding , if that were possible, more energy and excitement to it's delivery.
The line "you gonna know my name by the end of the night" seemed to spell out the band's mission.
'On My Knees', one of their own compositions swiftly followed, with a great beat, and riding on a catchy guitar riff. Peter (the bassist's) guitar strap broke part of the way through the song, but it was barely noticed as he sat down by the drums, hardly missing a note.
Up next was 'Blood Not Brass', the title track from their EP. Instantly recognisable from the first notes, it's one of those intros' once heard, never forgotten. Harking back to the sound of early Free, and combined with contemporary distorted vocals by Ben, it showcased their excellent musicianship, which was displayed again in the following cover of Gary Clark Jnr.'s 'If You Love Me Like I Say'.
Having informed me earlier down in the Blues Room that they would perform a Free cover, they certainly pulled out all the stops with their rendition of 'Fire and Water'.
Koss was only twenty, and Rogers twenty one when it was first released and, albeit minus a little of the original facial hair, the guys managed to capture the raw essence of the song.
The pace slowed with their self written 'All I Got' with great vocals and a contemporary blues twist, and following a simmering cover of 'When My Train Pulls In', the band left us on a high with another of their own songs 'Ain't Nothing Goin' On'. With a pounding start by Sam on the drums, this rocker perfectly fused the band's early seventies influences with a more contemporary abrasive Bluesy sound.
As the last note played, we made our way through the swollen crowd, hearing around us the collective muttered praise "those boys are good".
Listen to Jules & Bob at Rock On The Ridge every Saturday night at 8pm.