Eric Gales / Dom Martin – The Met, Bury – 7th June 2022
With accolades and awards as long as your arm, the outstanding burgeoning talent of Dom Martin opened the evening to play a stunning 50-minute set. “Hellllooooo,” was his cry as we heard him before we saw him. With the promise of a tribute to Rory Gallagher during the set, Dom Martin kicked into some instrumental workouts and warm-ups before heading into several original pieces. The opening medley had multiple supplies of wonderful riffs with Zeppelin’s Moby Dick sandwiched between Maxwell Shuffle and Funky
Dom showcased 4 tracks from his new album Savage Life, his second studio album. His wonderful free-flowing guitar work was supported with great aplomb by bass Dave Thomson and bionic drummer Laurence McLeown. He built an instant rapport with the audience, receiving hugs and handshakes with those at the barrier early on in the game. But it was his powerful vocals blending melancholic playing with versatile shredding that stood out. When he slowed the pace he was reminiscent of early Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac playing some late night smoky blues.
He struck a chord with his claims of the power of music supporting people through traumatic times but it was his controlled mix of heavy and light touches which endeared him to the appreciative audience.
His Rory tribute began with Laundromat off Rory’s first eponymous solo album reminding me of the days when I was Dom’s age and seeing Rory Gallagher live. The Irish protege did more than justice to his sadly passed Irish hero, taken from us far too early. It takes a brave artist to try and emulate a world class stellar guitarist but Dom definitely pulled it off. Morning Sun and What’s Going On completed the set, which went in a flash for us and a blaze of glory for Dom. Think Jimmy Page meets Rory Gallagher, brandishing a Joe Perry hairstyle and with a touch of Billy Connolly banter delivered in an Irish brogue. Lovely fella.
It was a rare treat to see Eric Gales up close and personal in such an intimate venue after missing out on his headline show at the much larger Manchester Academy only a couple of months ago. A reward for the patient. – good things come to those who wait. Also promoting a new album Crown, he may, in recent years, have been writing music borne of his personal struggles but now rejuvenated by his inspirational wife, an impressive percussionist and vocalist in her own right,. He sheds bucket loads of charm as he invited the audience to join him on a journey through his musical turmoil or as he put it “a flight down the path of my mind”
His 90-minute set sometimes raucous, sometimes mellow was indeed a rip-roaring tour of his recovery from self-inflicted turmoil and ‘the wrecking ball’ of modern life. His resilience and strength to survive supported by his friends and family oozed through a masterly performance.
Although almost totally dedicated to the new album, of which he is quite rightly proud, he began with his own version of the standard Smokestack Lightning. Most appropriately, as his awesome bass player nicknamed ‘Smokeface’ took the stage donning voodoo style mask from which mysteriously billowed clouds of smoke. ‘Neath a bright red bob hat he never revealed his identity but he did reveal a tightness within the rhythm section, never flashy but always on the button, driving the band along with percussionist LaDonna Gales and Nicholas Hayes on drums.
His powerful, sometimes free jazz-like and always soulful playing not only explored his life but every corner of the fretboard, at one time traveling so far down the fretboard he was only inches from his plectrum.
He must also have a pitch-perfect ear as he stopped mid-tune once to discover the source of extraneous noise, as well as halting one number to come to the edge of the stage and pick out the gentleman who looked like James Bond. It was that sort of relaxed evening. But through the night, as the notes floated and swirled around the room you could hear a pin drop at his most mellow and go mind-twistingly wild when he chose to create a frenzied crescendo. There was unrestrained power in his heavier and meatier moments but always played and sung with a magical feel at his more soulful. The performance oozed class and positive energy. Never more so when he interplayed licks between him and keyboard maestro during the album title track Crown and when he gave his wife the limelight with her gospel style vocals.
The whole night he was so appreciative of the support from his band and also paid tribute to Joe Bonamassa, who produced the album. His music and personality were offered in abundance, allowing us to join him on his mission to make life better for everyone on lots of different levels. He gave so much of himself throughout the performance and everyone in the room, if they had any heart, took away a part of Eric Gales with them.
Photos by Mike Ainscoe @atthebarrier
Categories: Live Reviews