WIL with THE BRITISH COLUMBIANS

The British Columbians14 November 2009 at the Biltmore Cabaret

There’s something about going out into the cold, dark night when it’s lashing rain to go see a gig. You’re all huddled up and find yourself darting across streets to get inside for that comforting blend of warmth and familiarity. Every time it pours I wind up seeing amazing bands. Rain seems to bring out something special in live music. Saturday’s set at the Biltmore proved no different.

Talking my way in after a mix-up on the guest list (I’m slick like that), I quickly made my way up to the stage for The British Columbians, purveyors of fine Southern rock that is so downright dirty I feel guilty just for watching them. Starting bang on time for this early show, the band tore into its first song “Hoodoo” and had the audience hooked straight away.

I know I like a band when I become very still and just stand and stare, which is exactly what I did for their entire 40-minute set. Frontman Girard Knox, always on top form, plays slide guitar like nobody’s business. I could not take my eyes off him. His playing is nothing short of phenomenal and his energy is mesmerizing.  The small shrine I have for him in my heart burned brighter when he jokingly scolded the crowd for singing along: “You guys f—ed me up! But that was f—ing awesome.” The band delivered a solid set of tough, bluesy songs including the new “Tied to Tracks” and “Hail.”  The lyrics are simple but effective. Ending with “Preachin’ Blues,” Knox sings, “I’m gonna find religion, I’m gonna join a Baptist Church,” and you can’t help but feel he really means it.

Wil (Brian Fitzgerald)

Photo by Brian Fitzgerald

After The British Columbians’ amazing set, I didn’t think they could be topped. But then Wil took the stage. Starting off a little fidgety, Wil eventually eased into his set and performed his “old-school country” songs with enough passion to start a small fire. Taking musical cues from Led Zeppelin, Chet Atkins and good old punk, Wil’s guitar playing became so fast on some songs that his hands were a complete blur. The fact that his playing remained so dexterous was incredible. Halfway through his set, Wil endearingly told the crowd that he makes “no apologies for the slow love songs,” like “Wedding Dress” and “If You Want Me To” which played with quiet restraint. After eliciting some lighter-waving from the crowd, Wil got back to the fierce and the fast. Well-placed Japandroids-style yelps gave ‘Way Too Long” a punk attitude I really liked and wished there was a 10-minute version available somewhere. Drummer Jason Cook provided scaled back percussion that blended really well with Wil’s intricate and energetic style. Solid set, solid night. Wil is in my top five performances of the year.

THE BRITISH COLUMBIANS SET LIST
1. Hoodoo
2. Fine Mess
3. Tied to Tracks
4. In the Leaves
5. Hail
6. Gasoline
7. Preachin’ Blues

WIL SET LIST (care of 3am Revelations)
1. Don’t Let Me Down
2. Big Life
3. Wedding Dress
4. The River
5. Baby Baby
6. Long Kiss Goodnight
7. Both Hands
8. If You Want Me To Know
9. Always With Love
10. Dance With The Devil
11. Tell You Twice
12. Honey Pie
13. By December

Comments (2)

 

  1. Colin Rink says:

    Wish I could have been there! Great coverage

  2. [...] next show is coming up on January 14th at the Venue, when they open for The British Columbians and Rich Hope. That promises to be an incredible evening, since all three bands have received props [...]

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