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  • Writer's picturePaul Gainey

Robert Jon and The Wreck, Earl Haig Club

From Southern California, but with a sound evoking the Deep South, Robert Jon & The Wreck had flown under the radar for a decade until their 2020 album Last Light On The Highway connected with a wider audience.

That album was compared to Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Black Crowes, with its beautifully crafted songs – Oh Miss Carolina in particular – lit up by singer Robert Jon Burrison, a bear of a man with a voice full of soul.

If you like your rock Southern Fried then Robert Jon and Wreck are right up there with the best of them.

The Wreck are a tight well drilled band who look to be used at larger halls than the Earl Haig Club in Whitchurch, Cardiff, with a stage the size of a postage stamp, but Robert Jon and The Wreck owned it on Tuesday night.

They hit the stage with ‘Pain No More’ and played through a set drawn from across their career. Highlights of the evening were plentiful. ‘Oh Miss Carolina’ was a great opening song on their ‘Last Light on The Highway’ album and has evolved since then into one of the showcases for Henry James’ considerable guitar skills. Clearly a devotee in equal parts of Hendrix and Duane Allman his slide guitar solos are as impressive as his highspeed fretwork. ‘Waiting for Your Man’, ‘Do you Remember’, ‘She’s a Fighter’ and fan favourite ‘Shine a Light On Me Brother’ were other songs that stood out.

Bassist Warren Murrel throwing shapes and Henry James standing at the very edge of the stage during most of his solos. Drummer Andrew Espantman and Bob Fridzema on keyboards are both given solo spots to ensure they get some time in the spotlight. Burrison clearly knows this is a band performance despite his name being front and centre.

Things were slowed down somewhat with the cool vibe of ‘Do you Remember’, followed by the awesome ‘Rescue Train’ with breath taking guitar from Henry James or the stadium epic ‘Tired of Drinking Alone’.

‘Waiting for your Man’ their current single was greatly appreciated by everyone, but it was ‘Shine a Light on Me Brother’ and ‘Cold Night’ which closed the show with its good-time party vibe that really got everyone rocking. It was extended into another guitar extravaganza with James and Burrison doing a more than passable take on the Allmans’ twin guitar sound.

Returning for two more song for the encore we were treated to a terrific ‘Last Light on the Highway’ Pt 1 and Pt 2, a true epic in every sense which went on for a storming 15 minutes or so. What a powerhouse of a song, like a steam train at full speed. This was steaming hot Southern Rock at its very best.

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