Well, The Mentulls Spring/Summer offensive kicked off this week-end with a (near) home-town gig at Darlington on Friday night, followed by a drive to Milton Keynes on Saturday. First time seeing the guys since last December, for all that they are "local" and have to say, they seemed well rested and champing at the bit to be back on the road and eager to deliver their own brand of rocking, melodic, proggy blues.
Andrew was in fine. kinetic form, stomping round every inch of Darlington Forum's stage as he wrung the neck of his guitar from the driving anthems of Can't Slow Down and Silver Bird, through the pure Blues of Red House to the hypnotic Reflections pt2 and tearing lose on a medley tribute to Philip Sayce. Big brother Jamie was just as keen to blow the dust off his Hammond keyboard and musically, not literally, chased Andrew round the stage in his usual left-hand bass and filling keys role, and then mid set, delivered a long time due, powerful and sepulchral solo, tapping the "inner Keith Emerson". And then there's Nick behind the drums; where many a band's sound is built on a sledgehammer for a drummer, Nick is like a planishing hammer, skilfully working and shaping into complex and pleasing contours; each stroke measured and while he has fast hands, no stroke is superfluous as his solo closing Time Flies demonstrates. However, it's together where these three really tap into something special, and their set closing double-whammy, building from Theme From An Imaginary Western through to Starship Trooper, really picks you up and carries you off. And then they do it again for an encore with their own After The Rain.
The Reflections tour continues:-
27th May Drummonds; Aberdeen, UK
28th May Backstage@The Green Hotel; Kinross, UK
2nd June The Maltings; Farnham, UK
3rd June The Tropic at Ruislip; Ruislip, UK
17th June The Limelight Theatre; Aylesbury, UK
26th June Linton Festival; Ross-on-Wye, UK
5th August Cambridge Rock Festival (Main Stage); Cambridge, UK
7th August A New Day Festival; Faversham, UK
15th September The Musician; Leicester, UK
16th September Blakeney Harbour Room; Blakeney, UK
23rd September Stockton ARC (guests of Danny Bryant)
24th September Kent BluesRock Festival; Gravesend, UK
25th September The Horn; St Albans, UK
10th November The Haven Club; Oxford,UK
11th November The Woodlands Arts Centre; Gillingham,
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana...