23 January 2018 (gig)
24 January 2018
The first time I set eyes on Laurence Jones was probably 2012 – an impossibly young boy playing firetrap guitar lines and working alongside Roger Innis on bass. He was superb and looked for all the world to have all the tools necessary to make a mark in British Blues. I think I have seen him four times since.
Now come forward to January 2018 and he has a new band that features Phil Wilson on drums, Bennet Holland on keyboard and Greg Smith on bass. They are tighter and they play as a band, supporting Jones but offering up their own talents as well.
Frankly, his performance last night was the best I have seen him – by a mile.
The confidence he was showing from the opening bars of ‘What Would You Do’ was stirring and he was playing with ease and real power.
This is a kid who has won 2 awards as ‘Young Musician Of the Year’ and thrown up what could have been an easy path to develop more of his own style. He is harder hitting than he used to be, more confident taking the frontman position and he has developed an ability to play guitar and sing together – something not too many axemen can do.
As the set went on, we were treated to some of his fan favourites as well as some new tracks from the yet to be released album ‘The Truth’, including the wonderful ‘Keep Me Up At Night’. He tore out a grand version of Hendrix’ ‘All Along The Watchtower’ and threw out a dark and stirring ‘Thunder In The Sky’.
His pacing is excellent and even when he slowed it down for ‘Thunder…’ the intensity and the punch was all there.
He encored with a rousing version of ‘I Will’ that had the crowd singing along.
This is still an impossibly young looking man but he has grown up and he is playing Blues/rock with real direction and passion.
Support on the night was from Me Me Detroit, not a band I am familiar with but that is something I’m going to change. Treading a line between grunge and punk and with vocals that reminded me at times of Poly Styrene (X-Ray Spex) and touches of Souxsie she has some strength – and no bad guitarist either. I’ll look forward to hearing more.
Picture by Laurence Harvey