By Terry Marland, Rock At Night Wales
Live Review: Robert Jon & The Wreck –Live Rooms Chester –9th February 2023
This is Robert Jon & the Wreck’s third visit to the U.K. in 18 months. The hard work is paying off as they have established a strong fanbase with increasingly larger audiences at their shows. I first saw them play at this venue in September 2021 when there were about 100 people in attendance . Tonight the main room is packed with fans eagerly awaiting Robert Jon and the Band.
Meghan Parnell & Dave Barnes from Bywater Call
First up though its tonight’s support artists Meghan Parnell & Dave Barnes from Bywater Call.
Canadian Blues and Roots band Bywater Call usually operate as an seven piece with a horn section, keyboards and drums but as Meghan tells us, tonight guitarist Dave, “gets to be all of that”. And he does so with some style. There stripped back set makes for an engaging start to the evening and includes mainly songs from their first album including “Forgive” and “Swing Low”. A highlight for me is the “old schools blues” section in the shape of Robert Johnson’s “Come home In My Kitchen” that showcases the swampy slide skills of Dave Barnes and reveals the impressive bluesy vocal credentials of Meghan.
Since the gig I’ve sampled tracks from their first two albums to get the full band experience and look forward to seeing the seven piece line-up in the future. Recommended listening.
Robert Jon & the Wreck
The band take to the stage on the stroke of nine o clock and after a brief final tune up launch into “Pain No More”. This sets the scene for the next hour and three quarters of high powered Southern infused rock. Featuring the distinctive gravelly vocals from Robert Jon Burrison, searing and extended guitar solos from the magnificent Henry James Schneekluth, slick keyboards from Jake Abernathie and excellent work from Warren Murrel on bass and Andrew Espantman on drums this band is a force to be reckoned with.
The second number, the nostalgic “Do You Remember “ ( with lyrics we can all identify with)is a favourite of mine but I’ve always thought it finished too soon. That’s rectified tonight with an extended spiralling guitar solo that more than meets with the approval of the packed Chester audience. There are intoxicating renditions of the in your face latest single release “Come at Me” and “She’s a Fighter”.
Robert Jon introduces the yearnful “Bring Me Back Home Again” as a “brand new song,” that fits seamlessly into the set.
There are opportunities for solo spots for Espantman as an intro for “Waiting for your Man” and Abernathie on keys mid-way through “Rescue Train”. Both are weighted perfectly and don’t fall into the trap of being overlong.
Robert Jon delivers a highly impassioned version of “Gold” that is sung from the heart and dovetails into crowd favourite “Oh Miss Carolina” which sees the audience joining in on the chorus and punching the air.
The main set concludes with an extended version of “Cold Night” which features a riveting dual between the keys of Abernathie and guitar of Schneekluth and just avoids the overlong trap before the band return for “Last Light on the Highway” to close the evening.
This tour is receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback and and its easy to see why. Robert Jon and the Wreck produce a powerful mix of blues enfused southern rock that is hard to match and is best experienced live.
The tour continues through the UK and Europe – with some dates sold out or close to doing so. Full details here. https://www.instagram.com/p/CnxMoJaNjqs/
Full set list:
Pain no More
Do You Remember
Come At Me
She’s A fighter
Bring me back home again
Waiting for your man
Who Can You Love
Oh Miss Carolina
Shine a light On Me Brother
Last light on the highway
Check out our Spotify Playlist