Having just seen Mufassa deliver the patrons of Smith’s Alternative a relaxed and smooth grooves vibe I have time to reflect on why I came tonight. East Row Rabble is why I came and although this isn’t the best gig circumstance in that they are saying farewell to a member – it’s the first opportunity I’ve had to see them live.
Tonight is a night to remember the good times with Tim Bowyer the bands trumpet player. Bands are transient beings and often a member needs to thin their workload or progress their career through change, it’s a given in this industry!
My next thought was – How are they going to fit a 8 piece band comfortably on a stage some 5m x 3m in size!! Well they did it…no room to swing a cat as such and up nice and personal but still with enough room to sway and breath between them.
I’ve been a fan of East Row Rabble since they released their self titled EP in June 2018. I have listened to it countless times but am really pumped to see what they offer live.
The set begins with “Never Had A Bad Day” and then we transverse the ‘Rabble’ Reportorial including songs from the EP – “Chalk Me Up”, “One For The Kokonut”, “Aliens In My Brain” and “Strawberries And Cream” among other tracks.
This gig was very relaxed and laid back and it gave all the artists on stage time to just enjoy what they were doing. A truer viewpoint cannot be said about lead singer Ben Drysdale’s approach to his craft in particular.
There are always differences of course between the manufactured release and a live performance but this one just highlighted to me how much of Ben’s growl and gravel was sadly missing on what is still a fantastic EP.
Throughout the night Ben showed us both the light and dark textural balances of his voice which are pivotal to the Funk&Blues genre’s that are East Row Rabble. I really enjoyed the dirty grit tone he extended to for brief periods and would not have believed he was capable of producing the gravelly and gruff growls had I not heard it myself because he is a gentle and soft speaker.
Instrumentally, there was nothing not to like…all the musicians played their parts and held solo moments as well especially Tim Bowyer for whom tonight was for. His trumpet playing was on point and added a bit of pizzazz to enjoy. In fact the whole horn section was really funking it up and it was impossible to avoid grooving along.
What happened in the punter ranks?? Well didn’t even make it through the first song before the dance floor was full and that’s the way it stayed all night. The ‘beatnik’ moves made an appearance for some and there was real disappointment when the night had to end. The house was packed from beginning to end – even caught Mufassa groovin’ along!
As a true indication for me how good this band really is – My husband was with me tonight and he is an avid ‘Old School Rock’ fan..you know…Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Angels and the like. Tonight he told me he really enjoyed this experience and I won’t say he was converted but when I play my EP he recognises who it is …that’s got to count for something!
The night ended with us showing our support by purchasing a T-Shirt for myself and a copy of the EP for a friend in Queensland. It’s a small token for the work that goes into being a successful band/musician but without our support these bands struggle to make the next step in the progression of their musical careers…and every little bit helps!
Moving forward, there is a break for East Row Rabble now, from gigs at least as they prepare new songs and rehearse and tweak old ones in preparation for their set at The National Folk Festival on Thursday April 18th, 8pm – Exhibition Park in Canberra…if you haven’t caught them live I encourage you to seek them out…you’ll be glad you did!