Clancy’s Fish Pub, Fremantle
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Vdelli hit the stage with next to no fanfare on this, the Freo album launch for their new album Never Going Back. So much so that we turned around mid-conversation and there they were, slowly cranking up the heat with some subdued blues licks.
Michael Vdelli has been doing this forever, and it shows – he’s magnetic onstage, a truly great and unfairly underrated blues rock singer and guitarist who is enjoying more acclaim in Europe right now than in his home town, following repeated treks through Germany, Scandinavia and the like. Over there they appear on chat shows and make repeated appearances at Sweden Rock Fest, while here in Perth its pub favourites the Indi Bar and Clancy’s. That says a lot more about Perth’s laissez-faire audiences than it does about the band.
Nuff Your Stuff is introduced as the most laidback track on the album but, like all the material on offer, it smoulders and gets the dancers up.
A classic power trio, Vdelli the band have a clearly defined dynamic which gives each member ample room to move and stretch out. Drummer Ric Whittle is the heartbeat of the band, riveting down a monolithic foundation which bassist Leigh Miller overlays with funky, soulful rhythms and groove. His R&B vocals on Get It Up show that these guys are far removed from mere generic blues copyists.
This gives Michael Vdelli total confidence to lay down guitar and vocals without a glance behind him. He knows Whittle & Miller have the chops to keep the train on the track, and provide the room he needs to add the seasoning to this blues rock stew.
I’ve Been Going Too Hard (For Too Long) from their Kevin Shirley-produced Ain’t Bringing Me Down album is a raunchy and sinewy flex, full of binge regret, while a fiery Could Be Good rounds out the first, blues-heavy, set.
Set two opens with Dream Girl Nightmare, one of the highlights from Never Going Back, heralding a harder rocking set that peppers tracks from the new album (Change The View, the title track) with flammable covers including I’ve Seen Fire And I’ve Seen Rain – Miller again seizing the opportunity to flex his R&B chops while Vdelli himself weighs in with a tastefully subdued solo.
The night ends with a feisty and passionate jam that takes Voodoo Chile into uncharted waters, all three musos stretching out and in stunning form.
News that the band recorded the previous night’s show at the Indi Bar for a live album will be welcomed by fans, and with another European tour locked in for early 2014 the band are assured of increasing their acclaim whilst in such rude form.
_ SHANE PINNEGAR