Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Eric Gales Band: Nell's Jazz & Blues Club, London 5/6/19

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If stardom was based on rave reviews from his contemporaries rather than record sales, Eric Gales would no doubt be a stratospheric megastar. Guitar god Joe Bonamassa knows a thing or two about guitars and celebrityhood, he calls Gales “one of the best, if not THE best guitar player in the world”. Carlos Santana says he's “absolutely incredible" and Mark Tremonti says he “could be the 'best player on Earth'”. The guy is that good! And hugely likeable and humble to boot.

Tonight Gales was in fine fettle, happy that his gig was a complete sellout and ready to slay all in his path. Kicking off with some heavy vintage Chicago blues which really cut the mustard, as Gales wasted no time in launching into his highly paced and frenetic soloing he's renowned for. Once he'd had his blues fill, he changed tack and played tracks from his latest offering "The Bookends" (Mascot Records) a fine effort that features Beth Hart and Doyle Bramhall II.

It's amazing to think Gales got his first record deal at the age of 16! He's recorded 18 albums and the latest album was fully represented tonight... "Southpaw Serenade" is one of the highlights of many, a 6/8 beaut with gospel bv's from a loop, adding to its hypnotic feel. "It Just Beez That Way" stood tall with its funky Johnny 'Guitar' Watson vibe, which in turn saw our man switchgear to devastating effect.

His team is super tight too...the drummer was motoric in a beefy Dennis Chambers kind of way. Unsung hero, the bass player, laid a thunderous groove throughout. And floating on top of it all, his beautiful wife, percussionist La Donna Gales who punctuated the flowing rhythms to a tee - especially with her ferocious maraca playing!

The audience was lively and raucous at times, interjecting at any given opportunity, which added to the electric atmosphere these artists cooked up. Gales seemed to lap it all up and by the time it came to the closing showpiece, he was cooking on gas! Mixing Hendrix's "Voodoo Child" with AC DC's "Back To Black", a touch of Led Zep's "Kashmir" and peppered with a splattering of Beethoven's "Für Elise", his job was well and truly done. Fulham had felt the full force of Gales fly fluidity!
Words Emrys Baird

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