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  • Writer's picturePaul Gainey

Robert Jon and The Wreck

Robert Jon and The Wreck, highly accomplished exponents of blue collar Southern Blues hollering out of California's Orange County are a band in the ascendancy of which there’s no debate.

These five hard-working chaps are starting their new UK tour, dates that has seen them and sell-out venues up and down the length of the country.

The band stopped off at Exeter Phoenix and the effortlessly cool-looking musicians strode on stage and launched into blues rocking, anthemic single She’s a Fighter which is about Robert Jon Burrison’s wife, praising her strength and perseverance.

Next up was Do You Remember from the album Last Light on the Highway. The set list for the rest of the night was outstanding West Coast vibes which had you dancing one minute and then swaying the next to the likes of Don’t Look Down and Oh Miss Carolina.

With a back catalogue of seven studio albums, stretching over more than a decade of recording, this is a band that simply loves playing live.

Formed back in early 2011 Robert Jon and The Wreck are an industrious bunch. They wear their influences as badges of honours, campaign medals of a mellifluous sort. Hats are doffed, collectively, towards the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers, Black Crowes but ultimately this is a 21st century baton-carrying entity.

Seven studio albums in addition to a couple of compilations that shine a spotlight upon early EPs and live Lockdown performances present an extensive back catalogue from which to make set selections from.

hit up the wistful ‘Do You Remember.’ Chockful of blue-collar teenage memories, the wistful 'Do You Remember' with it's Allmans’ tone, twin guitar phases, and Springsteen-inspired lyrics takes us to a much-wished for time. “Do you remember being free, young, wild and seventeen?” sings Robert Jon. We dust off the photo-album and look back smiling through the delectable haze of this vivacious 70s vibrancy.

It’s soothing yet conflagrant simultaneously. As the set winds to its conclusion the tempo is raised to melting point with the utterly luscious ‘Oh Miss Carolina.’

The night began with – Caitlin Krisko & the Broadcast, a band whose blend of blues, soul, and rock has been capturing hearts across the states. As they took the stage, the crowd’s excitement was palpable, and the room was bathed in blue lighting that created an otherworldly ambiance.

“Don’t Waste It” and “Operator” demonstrated the band’s versatility, with the former offering a foot-stomping groove and the latter evoking a sense of nostalgia with its retro rock vibe. The crowd was in the palm of Caitlin Krisko’s hand, as she danced around the stage, the sleeves of her top forming the wings of an exotic bird.

A surprise for the night came in the form of a blistering cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll,” which ignited the crowd.

Known for their rock ‘n’ roll sensibilities and blistering live shows, Robert Jon and the Wreck had the audience on their toes in anticipation as they walked on stage, beaming smiles especially from bassman Warren Murrel.

“Tired of Drinking Alone” and “Ride in to The Light” the title track to the new album, followed, showcasing the band’s ability to craft anthemic rock songs that get the crowd moving.

“Rescue Train” and “Don’t Look Down” continued the high-energy onslaught, with Robert Jon’s commanding presence at the forefront.

As the set progressed, the band delved into their back catalogue, mixing up the older with the new. This was a setlist for everyone, performing tracks like “Pain No More” from the latest offering, ‘Ride into the Light’ and “Don’t Let Me Go”, from 2021’s ‘Shine A Light on Me Brother’ that showcase the bands musical prowess. The extended musical jam in “Cold Night” from ‘Glory Bound’ being a standout moment, with Henry James taking the spotlight with an impressive solo, his guitar skills left the crowd in awe as this extended jam played out.

Throughout the set, references to their back catalogue were seamlessly woven in, helping to connect the dots of their musical journey. It was clear that the band had poured their heart and soul into their performance. The sizzling musicianship, scorching guitar, and pulsing lights set the stage on fire, a fitting testament to a great band.

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