Dan Patlansky | The Jazz Cafe | 9 June 2016
Photo credit: Jerry Tremaine
Dan Patlansky’s had a big year. In the 12 months since releasing his UK debut ‘Dear Silence Thieves’, the South African has trekked around the country (alone and with King King), supported Joe Satriani across Europe, expanded his touring band, and put out his strongest album yet.
At his first London show since December, he’s reaping the benefits. The venue’s bigger, with better sound. Added keyboards mean more textures to the music. And the light and shade of the new ‘IntroVertigo’ songs showcase not just his increasingly powerful vocals, but new-found nuances in his already dynamic playing style.
So ‘Sonnova Faith’, with its call to “wake up and arm yourself”, makes the most of its visceral stop-start riff and Clint Falconer’s muscular bass playing. The freewheeling ‘Stop The Messin’’ is a bonafide celebration, punctuated by stabs of organ from Dean Barrett. ‘Heartbeat’ sounds even grittier than the studio version, complete with an epic slide solo. ‘Run’ ramps up the contrast between the hard rocking choruses – screamed vocals, chunky guitar riff, Andy Maritz’s pounding drums – and quiet verses. The bouncing ‘Western Decay’ reveals a light musical touch that contrasts the forlorn sentiments of Patlansky’s lyrics. ‘Loosen Up The Grip’ retains its melancholy beauty, in no small part due to the guitar solo, an exercise in quiet restraint. And, in contrast, the slow blues of ‘Still Wanna Be Your Man’, enhanced by subtle keyboard textures, suddenly catches fire with a solo as blistering as it is soulful.
There’s a knock-on effect on the older songs too. A funked up ‘Backbite’ benefits from Barrett’s presence, ‘Fetch Your Spade’ swings like never before, ‘Hold On’ turns on the tenderness, ‘Bring The World To Its Knees’ sounds more expansive, and, even at the end of an emotionally intense set at the tail end of a long tour, ‘Daddy’s Old Gun’ overflows with passion.
Like the man on his latest album cover, Patlansky is on fire right now.