YOUNG MASCOT SIGNING Aaron Keylock opens the show at The Borderline with railroad stomper Medicine Man, his long hair flowing and his stick-thin frame scooting around the stage as his excellent leftie bassist and driven drummer take care of business. Keylock’s dexterity can be quite dazzling, especially on his Gibson Firebird, probably a nod to the late, great Johnny Winter. Some of his compositions are manifestly in the wrong key for his voice, something a canny producer will attend to. Tuning down two semitones, some intervals should do it with no need to amend the chord progressions. His slide playing is skilful and exciting in a non-stop and impressive live performance.
Dan Patlansky is already an axe power ace, beating his Fender Strat with great deliberation and attack, with his rhythm section attaining a rare agility and ability to go with the flow. He plays with such venom at times that his voice starts to fight the maelstrom and he falls back on shouting. Again, easily fixed by just holding back the power chords when he’s singing. We want to be sung for – not at – and it’s not as if Bruce Springsteen manages to avoid this trap for much of the time.
Some of Patlansky’s compositions are terrific, notably My Chana, new composition Run and the tender Hold On; on others, the Stevie Ray Vaughan influence is a little too obvious but he consistently gets edgy or mellow tones from his guitar at will, and his solos can be fiery and inventive. Drone is a fine opener, light and shade to the fore. The outfit has such an attuned sense of dynamics that the show is consistently entertaining, though dropping the volume down is not something to feature three times in one show. The heavy chug of Stop The Messing and stomping single Fetch Your Spade are punched out with vigour. A lighter or less intense selection in the vein of Jimi’s Up From The Skies wouldn’t go amiss, just to vary the mood of the set.
With a new album almost ready to go, and with a pleasant fan-friendly demeanour, it’s hard to see how 2016 can be anything but a career-building year for this skilled journeyman and his group.