Fucking hell, I love blues collaborations. You mostly see this kind of thing at blues festivals, but on a random Monday night at Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria? Well, let’s just say that what happened on 27 July 2015 was extremely rare. Dan Patlansky kicked off the show with a riveting acoustic solo and the audience was (as always) dumbfounded from the word go. Then, without any warning we found ourselves in the soulful clutches of one helluva mesmerizing set. Acoustic heaven and food for the soul. First up, with old school blues lyrics in tact – Patlansky’s own Miss Owee from his acoustic album ‘Wooden Thoughts’. Just after the usual suspects Andy Maritz and Clint Falconer joined the fray, Dave Ferguson was invited to join them all. Accompanying him was his impressive collection of harmonicas. All hell broke loose with a slightly less stripped down version of Son House’s Preaching Blues. The combination of Patlansky’s acoustic guitar prowess and Ferguson’s impressive intuitive mastering of the harmonica damn near blew us all away. Jeezy, Patlansky has fast fingers – and yet he doesn’t sacrifice any clarity of notes because of it. Dave with those high notes and good old fashioned feedback manipulation. Man, it was something to bear witness to. Praise the blues!
I really loved the blues lore being shared on stage by the two blues men. In particular, on the life and times of Jimmy Reed, just before they conjured up a slow version of Bright Lights Big City. All the while, still dueling, as the blues swept us away. The last song of the acoustic set was a cover of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir that also appears on the acoustic album. Now those of you who know me can testify that I’m more of a religious follower of Led Zep than a fan. So I approach any covers of their material with much trepidation. Yes, of course I have some criticism. Ha! There may have been a tad too much harmonica added to the song. But I loved the sound Dan and Dave managed to create anyway. Something close to oriental snake chalmer blues. But less harmonica would have been much more for me on this tune. Nevertheless, they did the song justice in the end. Many artists who try to recreate Robert Plant’s vocals fail dismally and I’m sure Dan knows this all too well. He never adds any vocals to it.
Dan and the lads kicked some electric blues ass during the first part of the electric set with songs from ‘Dear Silence Thieves’ like Backbite, Pop Collar Jockey and then toned it down a bit for Your War. Dave joined again on the song Hold on from the very same album. And this was the highlight of the collaboration for me. A slow duel bending time and space causing the audience to fucking loose it. In a good a way though. Isn’t that what the blues is about? This continued with BB King’s You upset me , a very apt and heartfelt tribute to the King. During Daddy’s Old Gun from the album ’20 Stones’ the two blues men were so in tuned to each other’s musical vibrations that it sounded like they’re communicating in an alien language. One that I could feel but not understand at all. The second last song was the amazing and beautiful Madison Lane. Yes indeed from the latest album. And customary to any Dan Patlansky experience he left all of us in awe (once more) with his signature tribute to Jimi Hendrix in the form of his own interpretation of Voodoo Chile.
What an experience……
All photos taken by Kurt Sassenburg from Urban Playground SA. Check out his website: http://www.urbanplaygroundsa.com/