Reeves Gabrels & His Imaginary Friends / In Tyler We Trust / Bypolar [Live Review – The Boileroom, Guildford, 6/10/14]
Although Bypolar and In Tyler We Trust gave decent showings and played their hearts out, this show was definitively all about Reeves Gabrels & His Imaginary Friends. Bypolar have improved significantly since their support slot under DZ Deathrays, and In Tyler We Trust offered a ton of hard-rocking energy twinned with the occasional flamboyant display – but it was clear from each support’s tentative and uncertain experimentations that both acts are still testing the water and building their confidence. Reeves and his über-solid band, on the other hand, are old pros at this sort of thing – and, as you’d expect, it really showed here.
The biography accompanying this gig’s online announcement described Reeves Gabrels as “one of the most daring rock-guitar improvisers since Jimi Hendrix” – and it was right on the money. Meaty grooves; effortless harmonics-meet-feedback explorations; guttural volume swells; otherworldly wang bar work; slinky extended shred runs…I could go on until I ran out of adjectives and guitar techniques, but just listing things that happened doesn’t really do the things that happened justice. Reeves Gabrels isn’t a feel-lacking guitar wanker – there were great songs in this set, old and new, that just happened to segue into freaky and hyper-emotional alien-blues moments more often than not. And even when things did take a turn for the far-out, every note was handled with class, panache, and good taste.
Admittedly, those who jump on the “God, that’s a lot of notes!” bandwagon the moment a solo spot starts will find much to whine about if faced with a Reeves Gabrels set – but those who get their kicks from watching a master musician do what the fuck he likes will absolutely love it. Personally, I fall into the latter camp – so I’d more than recommend checking Reeves Gabrels and his band out while you have the chance.
For tour dates and other info, see Reeves Gabrels’ official website.
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