The crowd was a varied group of blues fans, from the tied-dyed and dredded hippies, to the button down office dads, every walk of life was represented in the intimate space. The space is layed out in such a way that those who want to sit in their assigned seats can do so with a clear and unobstructed view of the stage, while those who want to move up front and dance their asses off can do that too.
Overall the venue is perfect for the neighborhood, a kid friendly bedroom community of largely 30 and 40 somethings.
Back Door Slam: Wow. That’s basically all I can say. This was one impressive young band. They hail from the Isle of Man in the UK and their music is right up there with the best of the 60’s and 70’s blues bands like John Mayall’s Bluebreakers or even Cream. Maybe these boys were born in the wrong decade.
Only in his early 20’s, frontman Davey Knowles absolutely rips on his electric guitar and conjuers up images of Clapton and Hendrix as the blues course through his body and into his able fingers. Throughout the set the band played numerous originals culled from their recent release Roll Away and highlighted the set with just the right number of covers including John Hiatt’s “Riding with the King,” David Crosby’s “Almost Cut My Hair,” and Robert Cray’s “Back Door Slam” from which the band took their name. I each case these youngsters stayed true to the original but seemed to push the intensity up a level.
While Knowles is undeniablely an unbelieveable guitarist and one of the best I have ever seen in person, his strong heartfelt vocals cannot be overlooked. This kid is capable of reaching deep into his soul and summoning the voice of a middle aged black man from the deep south. It is a stirring sight to watch. That, coupled with his viruosic ability on the guitar and his comfortable stage banter, makes him a force to be reckoned with that we will be hearing from for year.
The only shortcoming of the this band is the complete lack of stage presence and interest exhibited by the Drummer (Ross Doyle) and Bassist (Adam Jones). While very able musicians, both seem to be totally bored with what they are doing and it that brings the intensity of the show down a little bit. It would have been a much stronger show if the rhythm section made any kind of effort at all to engage the crowd thought eye contact, body language or both. I think Knowles will need to give his bandmates a lesson in charisma or move on. He has too much talent to be brought down by the rest of the band.
Back Door Slam restored my faith in a brand of music that I had largely left for dead. There simply aren’t enough young bands that sound like this. With their blend of Allman Brothersesque rock and Clapton influenced old school blues, they are poised to win over a huge following of all ages.
Stage Presence: B
Set/Light Show: A-