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SPECIAL FEATURE - Rhodes, The Central Club, September 7th 2013

On Saturday 7th September a handful of Andovarians were privileged enough to witness a live performance by Rhodes, a rock trio made up of some of the finest session musicians in the country.

The evening was organized by long time friend of the band Chris Chalkley. The concert took place in a back room of Andover’s Central Club on London Road. The evening was packed full with fantastic, exciting and varied music. Surprisingly though, there were very few who actually attended. Chris and I talked about why this was. “This is exactly what tonight was supposed to be,” He said. He went on to explain that although a slightly larger audience would have been nice, all they really wanted to do was to cover the expenses. The evening was never meant to be a high profile event.

The band members are David Rhodes, Ged Lynch and Gaz Williams. Each has been involved in the session scene for a many years. You can imagine therefore how tight and professional they sound as a band together. The band tours mostly Europe but has fans all over the world – some of whom were even watching the gig via Skype!

David Rhodes, The Central Club, Andover

Saturday’s gig was only one of two gigs the band has ever played in The UK.

The names mentioned in this feature may not be recognizable to you but David Rhodes (Guitarist/Vocalist) and Ged Lynch (Drummer) have worked with some of the most prominent artists in the music industry some of which include Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney, Joan Armatrading, Roy Orbison, Natalie Imbruglia, Tom Jones and Dave Gilmour.

Ringing a few more bells?

So why play the small venues? Surely three accomplished musicians, each of whom is known among the music world to have played huge arenas and festivals, could choose to play larger venues. The reality is that as much as they are respected among their peers, to the average Joe these names aren’t particularly familiar and wouldn’t necessarily pull in a crowd to fill a venue like Wembley or The o2. Shame, I know.

As a musician myself, I have played a range of venues. Granted, not quite o2 standard, but I have experienced the difference between playing in front of an audience at a fair distance and playing an ‘up close and personal’ gig in a smaller environment. I have to say that there is something you feel in a smaller venue (aside from hardly any room to move and the stale breath of the guy who always seems to stand that little bit too close) that is lacking in the larger places. You feel a certain closeness with the audience and there is also a feeling that the people who have come to watch you want to feel that familiarity too. They want to be inside the music. They may not walk away saying “Oh man! What an experience to see that band in such an incredible venue!” But they could well be saying “Wow! The second song that band played was so beautiful. The lyrics were fantastic.” Each has their merits of course, but I know which one means more to me.

Chris did a great job of organizing the event and taking of advantage of the smaller and snug surroundings. He entered with the band a few minutes before the opening number and straight away he began working his way around the room shaking the hands of every single audience member. This just made the event even more relaxed and informal. I felt truly lucky to be there.

Rhodes played the room to perfection. They knew the audience was there to witness a close and casual concert. It seemed that because of this the band immediately let their guard down. They were just three guys having a great time on stage. Their playing was absolutely spot on. For a three piece I was amazed at the sound they made together. Their use of effects, both on guitar and bass really filled out the sound. Also they incorporated a lot of unison lines in their playing and harmonies. All of these factors contributed to creating a really complete sound which blew me away from the first chord. The first track they played reminded me a little of Erotic Cakes (you guitarists know what I’m talking about) in the fact that it was quite heavy but also very melodic. It had quite a progressive quality to it.

Photo showing Skype audience Coast to Coast from The States

This kicked off the evening with what seemed like an epic jam session and, believe me, it just didn’t stop(well, until it...err... stopped)!

Bassist Gaz Williams famously describes himself as “true bass junkie.” This description could not be more apt! He was so
 animated throughout. He really was the epitome of no holds barred, bass addiction! I was mesmerized by his playing and his movement on stage. This could be because I am a bassist myself but I also know that my guests felt the same way. I was so impressed by the confidence of his movement while playing some very tasteful and complex lines. Utterly fantastic to watch. To read more on Gaz Williams you can follow him on Twitter
https://twitter.com/gazgoldstar or go to http://www.notreble.com/buzz/2012/10/16/player-spotlight-gaz-williams/

Ged Lynch’s drumming astounded me. I know a lot of drummers who would have been like a dog on heat watching him play. So smooth, light when needed and then heavy and piercing – almost trying to prove a point! His timing, as you would expect was absolutely impeccable. Every hit meant something! You can certainly see why this guy was invited to work with Chrissie Hynde, Peter Gabriel, Goldfrapp, Seth Lakeman....the list just goes on, not to mention the soundtracks to which he has contributed! You can find out more about Ged Lynch on his Website http://www.gedlynch.com/

                                          From Left to Right: Ged Lynch (Drums), Gaz Williams (Bass)

Frontman David Rhodes is not only a very versatile guitarist but also has a really strong singing voice. His own composition Crazy Jane from his album Bittersweet was gently soulful; almost wistful. Waggle Dance on the other hand was much rougher and rockier. His high notes were so beautiful; in a similar vein to David Bowie. Stunning playing and singing throughout.

David Rhodes was discovered by Peter Gabriel in 1980 when he was still gigging with his band Random Hold. The band was asked to open for Gabriel on his U.S tour. After this David stayed on as Gabriel’s guitarist and, to this day, remains his guitarist of choice. David’s guitar and other contributions such as vocals, bass, keyboard, and didgeridoo can be heard on tracks such as Long Walk Home from Rabbit Proof Fence, So and Hit. As far as other artists go he has played on Paul McCartney’s Flowers in the Dirt Joan Armatrading’s Secret Secrets and Roy Orbison’s Mystery Girl.

David is Rhodes’ principal songwriter. He writes both with the band and as a solo artist. You can find out more about David
 on his website
http://www.davidrhodes.org/

David and Ged told me how great it is for the three of them just being able to jump in a car and spend four days driving to Italy, do a gig and come home. Rhodes really does seem like pure indulgence to all of them. I have to admit – it does sound pretty good. Both David Rhodes and Ged Lynch are touring with Gabriel next month.

I guess you could say the Central Club was a nice warm up!

 

David Rhodes, The Central Club