Review and photos by Rob Stanley
At the tender age of 14 young, Aaron Keylock is making quite a name for himself as a blues performer and with his low slung Gibson he certainly looks the part, but tonight’s performance just didn’t do it for me. His vocals were all over the place, which I suspect is due to the onslaught of puberty and stage presence really needs to be worked on. Several of the songs seemed to constantly repeat themselves and drag on causing me to lose interest on several occasions and others and others led up to and promised a massive guitar riff that just never seemed to materialize. On the rare occasion that Aaron did step forward and let rip it was completely missed by the lighting engineer who left the poor kid standing in a pool of black in his moment of glory!
The rhythm section also left me feeling quite confused as there seemed to be no communication or interaction between the bass player and drummer who never took his eyes off Aaron and between them did little to impress. However I did stay and watch the full set so it wasn’t bad enough to drive me to the smoke shelter which is minor consolation I guess.
It cannot be easy fronting a band at 14 especially when going through the change so on that front Aaron has earned my full respect, but whilst I wouldn’t rush out to see him again in the near future I’ll definitely want to see him again in 18 months or so when all the puberty issues are behind him and he has more stage experience. If asked if he has potential, then I’d have to say yes. A future star in the making? Jury is still out on that; ask me again in 18 months.
Watching Larry Miller play is simply mesmerizing and listening to him live is a pure joy. I do not think I have ever been captivated by one single person for so long on so many different occasions; he is in my opinion one of the best live blues / rock performers of the last decade. It really is easy to understand why his peers compare him to guitar legends such as Rory Gallagher and Steve Ray Vaughn. His mastery of the fret board is second to none and Miller is up and down the neck like a man possessed and those riffs just stream out. Simply glorious!
Not only is he a fantastic guitarist, but he’s also a great showman and gets the crowd involved every chance he gets with plenty of banter about the Black Country and anything else that crops up. At some points it almost feels like the crowd is in control of the set list – he just throws a batch of song suggestions out to them and then supposedly plays the one that produces the best response. I say “supposedly” because no matter what song he mentioned the crowd always produced the save fever pitch response – but at least it made the crowd feel good.
Whilst primarily out promoting his latest CD “On The Edge” he never lets this dominate the set list and gives a good balance of old and new material with tracks such as ‘Blues Forever’, ‘Unfinished Business’ & ‘Delilah’ (not to be confused with the Tom Jones crap of the same name) mixed with ‘When Trouble Comes’, ‘Real Me In’ & ‘The Devils in the Detail’ from the new CD. Tonight was the first chance I have had to listen to the new material and it just blew me away. Just like last year I would have happily put my hand in my pocket and purchased the CD based on a few tracks tracks, but unfortunately no merch stand, which was a massive disappointment.
I said last time that it is not often that an artist manages to exceed my expectations by so much and he has gone and done it yet again, another simply fantastic night with Miller. If you get the chance to catch him live then do it. If not, just buy the CD.
And you can see Rob’s photos from the show below: