Friday night and it’s time to climb the stairs and visit the wonderful Ballroom at The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, for an intimate night of music. A stunning venue with its own glitter ball, great acoustics and fine sound engineering, this was an old School type of event. A capacity crowd (standing room only) were entertained by some wonderful artists and a connection with the audience throughout. Live music is back! And this event will be very hard to beat for atmosphere, power and drive from consummate musicians all adding to the top-quality entertainment on show. This is what live music is all about and what people have craved for in the barren months of the pandemic.

Troy Redfern/ Robert Jon & The Wreck
Voodoo Rooms
Edinburgh, 24th September 2021

Words and Pictures: Colin Campbell

Troy Redfern off stage was a calm and collected and really looking forward to this event, very matter of fact about it even, mild mannered and full of enthusiasm, well when he came on stage this persona changed and he just went full on. Usually part of a band, here he did a one-man band style raw in your face bluesy rock set that blistered through to a very appreciative audience. Using only a kick drum as accompaniment to his acoustic resonator guitars as a rhythm, he started with such energy and gusto that not many full bands give sometimes. His slide guitar playing was just amazing at times, even playing when he broke a string, professional or what. Sanctify My Soul got the crowd warmed up with a bit of audience participation.

Then he went full throttle on Falling Down some intricate fingerstyle here. Tempo changed with Ghosts from his latest album The Fire Cosmic which was a very stripped-down version. There was chance for reverb, distortion and feedback playing with his amp throughout other songs, particularly evident through, Waiting For Your Love, also from the new album, again crowd was rapt with every note, played loud but very clearly and a passion for what he was playing. He always looks the part on stage with his long locks of hair covered by a well rimmed hat, a great entertainer and showman. He even finished off his set with a twisted version of Hey Joe full of great tones and majestical guitar playing, leaving the crowd wanting more. You want loud, heavy stripped back guitar and vocals, Troy’s your man, this is his time, catch him on the rise.

Another band definitely on the rise are Robert Jon & The Wreck who were tonight’s headline act. They are just quite phenomenal live and the set they did was perfect for this intimate setting. Their music style cannot possibly be described, they are genre busting, mixing Southern Rock, blues, soul and old-time rhythm and blues they mix and match but give such a show it’s scary how talented this five-piece band is, they rocked the house, leaving the audience spell bound sweaty and altogether delirious with delight at seeing such a highly rated band play in such a venue.

This was the very first time they had played in Scotland, and they were ready to spread their love and joy of music to all around the room, the sense of anticipation was palpable as they joined the stage. They are formed of; drummer, Andrew Espantman, Robert Jon Burrison, lead vocals and guitar, Steve Maggiora on keyboards, Henry James Schneekluth and Warren Murrel. This was by far one of the best concerts this reviewer has been to and that is no short praise, this was a polished professional performance and gift that kept giving. From the start when Robert Jon intimated “Are you ready?” you just knew this was going to be a special occasion.

They mixed the set, but a lot was from the newest album Shine A Light On Me Brother and 2020’s Last Light On The Highway, people came to join in and have a good time and that’s what they did, singing along with the band throughout. Tracks like Devil Is Your Only Friend were just sublime, mixing keyboard with drums to bass playing was a lesson in how a rhythm section should work. Then of course on top of this you have the double header of guitars, duelling as they do to great effect on the mesmerizing Work It Out. Anthemic sing along tunes like Oh Miss Carolina sound like they have been around for decades but have only just been released, show the band can mix it with any of the major big bands around, not naming names!

They mixed the set, but a lot was from the newest album Shine A Light On Me Brother and 2020’s Last Light On The Highway, people came to join in and have a good time and that’s what they did, singing along with the band throughout. Tracks like Devil Is Your Only Friend were just sublime, mixing keyboard with drums to bass playing was a lesson in how a rhythm section should work. Then of course on top of this you have the double header of guitars, duelling as they do to great effect on the mesmerizing Work It Out. Anthemic sing along tunes like Oh Miss Carolina sound like they have been around for decades but have only just been released, show the band can mix it with any of the major big bands around, not naming names!

Looking at the crowd’s reaction to Tired Of Drinking Alone just brought home the importance of that connection music has with everybody and this reaction was a two-way street, the band soaked up this energy and just played on and harmonised well on Gold, which was a particular slower vibe exhibiting each member’s talent, so well delivered, a roller coaster of emotions in this one, spine-tingling. This is a cohesive and powerful unit even when the soloist Henry James stretches the frets, look behind him and the rest are playing intricate melodies and jamming in a free for all.

Dancing time and letting your inhibitions run free was what to do joining in with the wonderful Shine A Light On Me Brother. Don’t Let Me Go had brilliant harmonies, just passionate imploring vocals mixing with soaring guitar tones. Old Friend was superb, they jammed hard with this, each player taking their part and bringing joy. Last song time and this was Cold Night where they just rocked out completely, the vibe was electric, and the room was rocking. For the encore, Steve on keys and Henry on guitar offered a musical eerie prelude to the sweet and mellow Glory Bound, sung with gusto by Robert Jon, who throughout looked as cool as any onstage musician playing consistent music can. This band is bound for bigger stages than tonight, it was an honour to see them in an intimate setting to see such an accomplished band, words sometimes are not enough. Yes, you’ve probably heard these styles before, but they have soul, pride integrity and just something special on a live stage, that cannot be truly replicated on disc, go out and see them when you can.

Absolute class, best concert this year and probably for some years to come, highly recommended! 10/10.

For further details see websites:

Troy Redfern: https://troyredfern.com/

Robert Jon & The Wreck: https://robertjonandthewreck.com