Dan Patlanksy | The Borderline | 27 April 2015
The walls of The Borderline are lined with old performance photos of musicians who’ve gone on to sell out arenas and even stadiums. If his sold-out show is anything to go by, it won’t be long before Dan Patlansky’s picture is up there alongside Pearl Jam’s.
The South African uses the launch of his new album, ‘Dear Silence Thieves’, to showcase not only his natural talent as a virtuoso blues guitarist but also his ever-expanding skills as singer and songwriter. Case in point: the fiery funk of set opener ‘Backbite’ is a world away from the 12-bar blues he cut his teeth on – a concise, catchy radio hit-in-waiting. Here in the freedom of the live setting it plays out a little longer than the version on record, thanks to one of his signature searing solos that show off his chops (and accompanying facial gurning) without a trace of self-indulgence.
He successfully repeats this approach throughout the night, creatively embellishing the raft of diverse new songs that range from the grimy Jack White vibes of ‘Pop Collar Jockey’ to the reflective, spine-tingling ‘Hold On’. The slow burning ‘Madison Lane’ finds Patlansky channelling his inner Eddie Vedder, imbuing his grainy voice with newfound sensitivity, while a delicate acoustic reinterpretation of ‘Feels Like Home’ lets the musician share yet another side of himself.
A sweeping outing for the epic ‘Bring The World To Its Knees’ from 2012’s ‘20 Stones’ album gives the fingers of his left hand a major workout, while incendiary set closer ‘Voodoo Chile’ has Patlansky wrenching otherworldly sounds from six strings and a piece of wood with the confidence of Hendrix.
As the changes keep on coming, what remains constant throughout is the performer’s personal charm. Clearly thrilled to be here, he’s graciously acknowledges the capacity crowd’s applause and colours his between-song banter with little anecdotes about life back home. Little wonder then that later, en route to the after-show meet-and-greet, he’s cornered by an enthusiastic fan insisting he sign her setlist immediately. Of course he obliges, like the superstar he’ll inevitably become.