- Published: Thursday, 19 March 2015 16:29
THE REVELATOR BAND
A recent review....
‘If, after the Zombie Apocalypse, lost on stormy seas, South of Pandemonium and half way to the edge of the world, you spy a distant cove and find yourself in a saloon run by Blackbeard’s ghost in the hull of a grounded galleon, then expect to see The Revelator Band on stage.
As the wind howled and shook the ancient timbers of our Wakefield watering hole, the Revelators took the stage. Black clad and hatted, their potentially sinister aspect negated by affability and self-deprecating humour, they steered the audience on an exhilarating course for three hours or more. The songs evoke the atmosphere of dark Victoriana, press-gangs and smoke-obscured opium dens; pantomime-pirate blues-rock driven along by a foot-tapping, tankard-bashing beat, colourful lyrics roared in a voice evocative of Tom Waits at his theatrical best.
Frontman ‘Captain’ Barnaby Neale accompanies the songs with larger than life aplomb, capering, stomping and whirling, missing only a swordstick and a parchment map to the location of a mysterious jade monkey. Rictus-grins and rolling eyes animate the face as the hat is given about all the doffing that a piece of headgear might reasonably expect in an evening. The songs are inventive, compelling; anchored by the creative rhythms solidly maintained by Doug ‘Dusty’ Jopling on drums and by some expertly-played bass guitar. The guitar playing is clever, disciplined and perfectly judged. On the piano, Christopher ‘Fingers’ Taylor has overcome the pain of a recent wrist injury to produce a powerful, dominating performance.
Together the songs are more than the sum of their parts, drawing influence from the likes of Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart and fusing them with roots in traditional blues, boogie-woogie and rock and roll. The storytelling aspect of the songs comes across beautifully, reminiscent of tall tales of rum-soaked piracy and yet the feet are still, somehow, firmly on the worn paving slabs of England’s North, in touch with the wry humour of folk that make the best of hard times and find moments of joy and profundity in as little as weak winter sunshine turning wet pavements to silver.
Should the zombie apocalypso be unexpectedly delayed, then keep your eye on the gig listings. If you get the chance to sign up for a tour of duty with the Revelators, then seize it. Trust me, you’ll come away with treasure aplenty.’ – The Vaults
THE BLIND DEAD McJONES BAND
Blind Dead McJones was never a fan of being in the spotlight, no number 1 singles, cheesy videos or appearances on celebrity cooking programmes. A true Bluesman in every sense of the word, living a life on the road shrouded in mystery. Some say he died years ago in an agriculture related accident, some say he is part of the keyzer soze family and some say he now makes Halloween costumes for dogs. One thing we know for sure is he is responsible for bringing together the blues rock behemoth that is The Blind Dead McJones Band.
Back in 2008 McJones was a lost and tortured soul, wandering the earth just like Kane in Kung Fu. Battling with his demons and struggling to keep going through the Hell that is the music business. All he needed was a friendly face, a pack of smokes and something to help him once again shake the earth to its very core, bring grown men to tears, turn sophisticated women once again into sreaming schoolgirls, and well and truly cement his place alongside the Gods.
He found all this and more when he met…
Ben “Buddy” Slack – Andy “The Cake” Johnson – Steve “Wee-Man” Nixon
“The Boys” are three of the finest young musicians in their price range. Nobody knows exactly why McJones decided to switch from working with battle hardened top of the line professional musicians to these three. Maybe it was their youthful enthusiasm, their quirky sense of humour, their undying love of the music and performing, the raw magnetism of Ben’s beard, most likely he was just a bit strapped for cash. Whatever his reasons were he took the boy’s under his wing like a goddamn chicken and educated them in his ways, raised them as his own and turned them into the best backing band he could afford.
The Story doesn’t end there though.
The debut performance of The Blind Dead McJones Band came around and you’d never guess what happened! The great Blind Dead McJones failed to show! This left the Boy’s in what could be classed as a “tricky situation”, what’s a backing band to do with no one to back? The Boy’s decided to simply play and have some fun. Guitarist Ben “Buddy” Slack donned his best McJones vocal impression and they winged a performance to a mediocre reaction from a confused crowd.
This is how our tale has continued over the years with McJones absence being one of the most consistent elements of The Blind Dead McJones Band. The Boy’s have embraced this with open arms and relished the opportunity to develop themselves as a 3 piece band. They’ve taken the great blues lessons learnt from McJones and infusing them with their other influences and quirky sense of humour to create their own original sound.
McJones seems happy with the arrangement as well, acting as a silent partner in the bands development. Advising the boys on all things blues and still making the occasional cameo appearance.
“I don’t call 911 I call .357” said R. L. Burnside.
He didn’t follow the rules or call the authorities when he could do the job himself. Our ethos is the same; we don’t follow trends, or go on wild goose chases, or listen to consultants. We just believe in the blues. That’s what we play; we have no desire to have a hit record, or a follow up. We play the blues, or as near to it as we can get.
We like purity, so we listen to (amongst others)Bukka White, Johnny Winter, Roy Buchanan, Rory Gallagher, Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, Dr. Feelgood, Canned Heat, Muddy Waters; these are just some of our influences. Yet we try to do it our way, not that we think we’re better (God forbid). We just believe that to follow in the footsteps of the greats is to do it how you feel it.
We are a three piece, guitar, bass and drums. This is a good size, it gives us freedom to play a song as arranged but let it breath, and respond, allow us to expand on it, go in unexpected directions.
We don’t like to feel constrained, the blues does not have to be in a box. It doesn’t have to be the same, it can go with the times, go with the flow of the river; and carry us along. The heart of the blues is feeling, so let that rule.
Doors 7.15ish, on stage 8pm sharp.
Tickets £8 available online https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/223471 or on the door.
Late bar serving real ales, fine wines and spirits.
Discount for group bookings and students, please contact me for details.
Plenty of off-road car parking.