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  • Writer's picturePaul Gainey

Wille & The Bandits, Tramshed

Boundary-blasting UK roots rockers Wille & The Bandits supported Samantha Fish at the Tramshed in Cardiff. They had the tough job of opening the night and warming up the audience. And it is fair to say they they smashed it.

In a fifty minute set they highlighted a number of tunes taken from four of their five studio albums. Perhaps classifying them with the blues rock title is a little unfair as this is a band that oozes musical diversity and have added their own individual stamp on it.

Band members Wille Edwards (lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, dobro, electric lap steel), Harry Mackaill (backing vocals, bass guitar, synthesizer), Matthew Gallagher (Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, piano, Mellotron, guitar, backing vocals), and Tom Gilkes (drums and percussion) are an unforgettable, expressive unit.

The set started out with two tracks from their latest album ‘When The World Stood Still’. ‘Caught In The Middle’ is a heavy riffed blues rock which edged into a hip-hop style before roaring into a seventies style vocal.

It has a big riff that’s good as gold, intelligent verses, and an explosive chorus that punches hard. This level of stylistic integration is par for the course with this lot and they make it all seem perfectly natural.

This followed into ‘Refuge’ with its sing along chorus. Interestingly, both songs were drawn from recent lock down frustrations and experiences. ‘Keep It On The Down-Low’ took us back to the ‘Paths’ album and saw the band taking a funkier approach.

For the next number the tempo dropped slightly with ‘Still Go Marching In’, a thought-provoking slow blues ballad with a refrain of “When will that rainbow come”, which initiated the first audience singalong of the night.

‘Judgement Day’ segued into ‘4 Million Days’ and saw Willie take up some slide guitar.

‘Good Stuff’ saw the tempo rise again with the audience clapping along to a tune that comes over as a great road number. It is a strong driving rock song interspersed with cool slide guitar.

The set finished with two numbers from the ‘Steal’ album, ‘1970’ and ‘Bad News’. ‘1970’ had a feel good boogie edge and ‘Bad News’ closed the set and was the perfect end number, building on the hard driving rock of the last couple of songs.

This was an obvious high-water mark from an already-distinguished group with a gleaming future. These guys are about to blow up, so get in on the party.

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