Danny Bryant

Arlington Arts Centre, Newbury

Friday 13.03.2020


The Danny Bryant show at the Arlington Arts Centre was not quite full due to a number of Corona virus no shows. Those that did make the decision to attend were treated to a great evening of quality blues rock. It was nothing more than one would have expected from this accomplished professional and it continues to amaze that this blues man is not more celebrated or widely known for the talented musician that he is. However, it is testament to his music that at each visit to this venue he plays to a larger audience than before.

Supporting Danny & hailing from Peterborough were the rock band Austin Gold. Tonight a three piece; David James Smith on vocals and guitar, bassist Lee Churchill and Chris Ogden on drums. The band performed a 35 minute set despite the vocalist suffering from being a 'little hoarse’ from a normal cold. The stand out number was 'Before Dark Clouds', the title track from their debut album.



Danny performed with Paul 'The Professor' Mallatratt on bass guitar, the ever smiling Dave Raeburn (he must enjoy his work) on drums and providing the keys, alternating between the Hammond organ and electric piano, Stevie Watts.



The audience were treated to some vintage Bryant licks and melodies. The set contained original songs, primarily from the latest, eleventh studio album, Means of Escape along with sprinkles of classics; Hendrix’s 'Little Wing', Rory Gallagher’s 'Bullfrog Blues’ & Jerry Lee Lewis’s ‘Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On’ to name a few. The set opened with Jimmy Reed’s 'Bright Lights, Big City' and was followed by Danny's slow building ballad 'Guntown' where the emotional lyrics combined with his crying guitar left your spine tingling. Via the inter-song chat we were encouraged to read 'The World Don't Owe Me Nothing' by Honey Boy Edwards, a tale about hustling and travelling around the USA in the 30’s and 40’s which inspired the latter song. Danny's cat, amusingly called 'Albert Collins', a gift from his wife, was declared as the inspiration for the next song 'Nine Lives'. This had a hint of southern blues and a strong presence from the Hammond. This was the first of four tracks from the latest album. 'Where the River Ends' allowed Stevie Watts's superb piano and organ to sandwich Danny's guitar. 'Tired of Trying', obviously influenced by Bryant's mentor Walter Trout, contained guitar solos full of emotion and intensity. You could just loose your self in the keyboard led instrumental 'Mya', it containing some inspired guitar solos, and for me was the best of the quartet. Bryant’s guitar was on show again with the forceful riff of ' Heartbreaker' and the skilful guitar work of 'Painkiller'. The show finished with Bryant’s take on Robert Johnson 's 'Stop Breaking Down' to a standing ovation.



Bryant was on form with both the music and the chat and his affable style means he fully engages with his audience. We were sorry to hear the “sales of his fitness DVD has failed to reach its target” (he has a dry sense of humour). He was genuine in his appreciation of those of us that had ventured out and was understanding of those that stayed way, genuinely thankful they were not seeking refunds. Like many artists out there, it is his job. Let’s hope life is not disrupted for too long and when it does return to normal that the public continue to support live music and the people dependent on it.


Words: Bronwen Harvey

Photo: Laurence Harvey