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Dan Patlansky, Live in London

South Africa’s blues-rock king hits the capital.

Across five records of fretboard heroism, Dan Patlansky has strived for Stevie Ray Vaughan utopia. The songs themselves, while decent, weren’t the priority, – by Patlansky’s own admission. This was all to change for album number six, Dear Silence Thieves, which the packed-to-the-rafters Borderline is here to witness for the first time.

Following acoustic blues from support Tristan Mackay, Patlansky starts with atmospheric instrumental Drone. His Stratocaster might be battered to buggery, but the rich, vital tone it generates is superb. Then suddenly album opener Backbite sets the night vividly alight. It’s a modern classic in the making, with Patlansky’s live trio fulfilling all the Stevie Wonder-meets-Lenny Kravitz-meets-Joe Bonamassa grooviness of the album version.

Evidently his decision to prioritise songwriting has paid off – Hold On is a touching work of smooth contemporary blues, Only An Ocean embraces soulful R&B hints and Feels Like Home proffers wonderfully funky syncopation.

Still, there’s no avoiding the fact that Dan has spent years being a guitar hero. And so we get solos; my God we get solos, shrieking SRV blues, one-handed, even no-handed for a sizzling Voodoo Chile… Brain-frying stuff, but delivered with a smile.

Impressive? Yes. Missing a couple more killers? Probably (it’s telling that Backbite reappears for the finale). But he’s shown himself to be a serious hope for modern blues rock; and as punters swamp the merch stand afterwards, it looks like he may well have tapped into something./o:p

Polly Glass

Polly is Features Editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage) and writes a few things. She also writes for Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer, and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.