It’s a cold and blustery evening on Saturday the 28th October and we were heading off to The Meeting Room Elland.
As most people who organise shows can appreciate, we were hoping that the bad weather would not deter people from coming and enjoying the spoils of what The Meeting Room had to offer.
Tonight it was the legendary John Verity band with support from Tom Attah.
Tom Opens The Show In Foot Stomping Fashion
Tom opened up the show with a foot-stomping rendition of “If I was a Catfish” which then morphed into “Rollin and Tumblin” which then had a few bars of “Whole Lotta Love” for good measure.
That is how you open a show! Armed with an acoustic guitar, a foot for stomping and a vocal skill that spans ages, genres and emotions, Tom Attah was in the house!
Tom delivered a set of diverse tracks that included covers from old blues greats such as Robert Johnson, R.L Burnside and B.B King to his own tracks such as “can’t wait to get back home” and the beautiful track, “fly away”.
Playful chatter and bursts of laughter erupt from Tom mid-song. He seems to enjoy where the music takes him and is easily “egged on” by an enthusiastic audience. Tom’s own enthusiasm and sense of humour make him a very enjoyable performer to watch as well as listen to. You can’t help but sway with him as he rocks on his chair and beats his guitar beautifully.
Tom’s charm flowed over the Meeting Room audience and the crowd hung on his every word – unfortunately we did have an exception to this rule and apparently the glares from other audience members or the “shush!” sounds in her general direction, didn’t drop the hint enough for her to desist in having her very loud conversation. But this did not deter the rest of the audience from enjoying themselves.
Tom concluded his set by signing off with “I’m Tom Attah if you liked it. If you didn’t, my name is Lenny Henry”
The Main Event with John Verity
Then it was time for the legend that is John Verity to take the stage with his band of merry men.
John has been touring his most recent album “My Religion” which was released in 2016 and his live show contains covers, original tracks from his current album and popular tracks from his vast back catalogue.
Although John can wail like a Rock angel and shred like a metal demon, he also has his feet firmly planted in the blues and he pays homage to these roots in some of the covers he performs at his live shows.
The opening track, “Help me” by Sonny Boy Williamson, was steeped with Verity charm. From the very first note, the band was incredibly tight and delivered the blues favourite with their own rocky edge. John’s incredible vocal range (which was only warming up at this point) soared above everything else on stage and the incredibly high and powerful notes John delivered seemed effortless.
A Career That Spans 19 Albums and Counting
Even after a career that spans 19 albums (soon to be 20) John’s voice, playability and stage presence is still at the top of the game.
This was evident on the ever popular “hold your head up” from John’s “Argent” days. John performs this in his live shows and the vocal is just as powerful as it was back then. He is an incredibly likeable character on stage who shares his stories and experiences, not only through words but through his music.
John was backed by the equally awesome Jamie Mallender on Bass guitar and Liam James Grey on drums. Liam and Jamie have been playing as “the rhythm section” for John for a couple of years and have played many shows together… and they are tight!
From the sultry bass on “put a spell on you” to the out and out groove that walks through the track “Too hot to hug” (John Verity Track), Jamie Mallender has an eclectic bass playing style that can ease through any genre. He is the master of knowing when to sit back in the groove and when to flick his hair back, bang that bass with his fist and embellish in embellishments. Jamie is a fantastic performer as well as bass player and the chemistry between him and John radiates to the audience bringing them along for the ride.
Liam is young in comparison to John and Jamie (sorry guys) but that does not diminish his performance once he gets behind his kit. Liam is relatively new to the gigging scene, but the fact that he is playing alongside a rock legend attests to the fact that he has some serious skills. His interpretations of the cover track are versatile and fresh and you can feel the energy radiating from the stage and it is contagious.
As a 3 piece band, these guys are true professionals. They play with emotion, subtlety, passion and most of all… AS A BAND! They also have the best merchandise table I have ever seen (with thanks to John’s lovely wife Carole) which is a visual representation of the huge back catalogue John has his name against.
I would have liked to have seen a little more from John’s back catalogue in the live show, as there were quite a few cover tracks, however, those tracks were performed in their own style and fit the show as it was structured.
John will soon be releasing his 20th album named “Blue to my Soul” (released on the 10th November) and his live shows will soon contain these tracks to keep audiences coming back for more.
No Signs Of Slowing Down
John consistently finds new ways to convey his emotions, opinions and beliefs through music and his sound is ever developing and fresh. There seems to be no end to his creativity and energy for performing and John shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Until next time.