Wow! What a show! As if touched by grace during the past six months, Albany Down put on a mesmerising and masterful show for the eager crowds at the Staines Hobgoblin last Thursday. The breadth of their musical achievement is amazing. High dancing vocals from Paul Muir, exciting solos and pushing, tearing power-chords on the guitar by Paul Turley, pounding great grumbling bass notes from Billy and wildly wicked thunderclaps of earth-shattering power from Jonny on drums. It was like an eruptive force of nature exploding onto the stage at The Hob. Those of us who had witnessed Albany Down in the past were in for a surprise. Expecting their usual subtle blends of ‘grown up’ Rock, Blues and Indie originals (with maybe a few exciting covers chucked in) none of us could have foreseen such a seismic change in the talents of this ‘conservative’ looking and ‘conservative’ sounding young band. But their new show is classic rock to be reckoned with. And this was more than just a performance. It was an urgent, volatile, flaming heart, ears buzzing declaration of power and creative energy.
The band shared a bundle of new material with the delighted crowd at Staines. ‘The Morning After’ with it’s progressive bass-play and pulsating rhythms of tension and groove constructed to create a mocking anthem for sliders and shifters… laced with those treacly lead guitars and culminating in an elegant and hummable chorus. This is an accomplished and worthy song. And ‘Wasted’ starts with a riff that is so tense that it makes you want to urgently seek much needed climatic release. This is a poisonous mix of clean-cut vocals and dirty, dirty guitars – all chugging along with that insistent drive.
Evidently someone must have whacked a rattlesnake up Paul Muir’s kilt at some stage, because he is now a rampant beast… prancing, jumping and parading around the stage like an addled Mick Jagger crossed with a libidinous Marti Pellow. He really ‘held on’ to the heartstrings of the crowd. And Paul Turley not only gave up his quality southern-soaked guitars, but also gave us some note-perfect, sizzling lead vocals on a blues number, and plenty of melodic and expressive backing vocals on other songs. Billy the Bruiser was equally flamboyant on bass guitar, lurking, leeching and leering his way all around the stage whilst wildman Jonny, on those frantic drums, provided a confetti of pyrotechnic percussive achievements.
The final four songs of the set; The Albany’s blues-style version of the Steve Booker / Duffy hit ‘Mercy’, followed up by the ‘Train Song’, ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Save Me’ draw influences from early Stones, Who even Zeppelin. And these numbers demonstrate that the band would be comfortable working in a blues club, an indie rock venue, a metal festival or up on the high altar at a stadium sized event. Such is their ability and their scale of work.
Yep, Albany Down are now as hot a volcanic ash and yet as cool as snow slippers. This sparkling band goes from strength to strength. Check them out as soon as you can. They will pour passion into your pumps, fire flames up your flares and ram jumping beans down your jumper. True quality!