Samantha Fish Opening for The Royal Southern Brotherhood
@ The Flowerpot, Derby, Friday 27th September
There was an air of controlled anticipated excitement at The Flowerpot, the atmosphere was evident as soon as you walked in an hour before the gig was due to start. There was a lot of chatter about how good the evening was going to be and how everyone was looking forward to the evening; so the stakes were set very high for The Royal Southern Brotherhood with its celebrated line-up
Before the main event of the night, Samantha Fish had the unenviable task of being the opening act when the audience was already buzzing; and from the moment she stepped on stage with her guitar she was making friends and fans through the clarity and authenticity of her playing style. Those of us that had heard her last album “Black Wind Howlin’” were expecting this but for others it was a delightful new experience. Her use of the cigar box bought another musical texture and then she was joined by Grammy award-winning drummer Yonrico Scott, celebrated bassist Charlie Wootton and guitarist and the producer of her latest album Mike Zito this was live music full of excitement that bought the tracks from the album to life breathing in the energy that the artist gets from the crowds and feeds back through the music. Samantha is no doubt the real deal great guitar player with her strong guitar licks, combined with a great voice which articulates the songs with meaning and clarity a glorious 45 minutes of blues driven music but we were all still anticipating the act to come.
The Royal Southern Brotherhood (RSB) hit the stage with the double guitar sound provided by the talented pair Devon Allman and Mike Zito, whose complimentary sounds created a musical harmony and exciting southern rock blues driven music. Added to this powerhouse at the front is Cyril Neville with his silky smooth but gritty vocals and percussive rhythms, but for the RSB a trio is not enough to deliver the powerhouse of Southern Rock sound they produce, so into the mix is added the talented Charlie Wooton on Bass and at the back of the stage the powerhouse of the group drummer extraordinaire, Yonrico Scott. Opening the proceedings with Paul Butterfield’s ‘You Can Run But You Can’t Hide’ demonstrated the talent and the easy way they all compliment each other, they are not individual pieces of a jigsaw they fit snugly together creating a fully picture of tones, harmonies and sounds, that is pure ecstasy! Mike Zito put his silver flying V to good use on the next delivery, one of his own ‘Hurts My Heart’ this put a little bit of funk into the proceedings as the excitement on the floor was getting more intense with every note RSB delivered tonight at The Flowerpot. For over two hours they entertained, teased and mesmerised us as the focus went from Devon’s deft and skillful licks, his vocals with a distinctive growl or Cyril adding that bit of soul to the proceedings and the hit of African rhythms and a times the sound or Bob Marley; then Charlie Wootons superlative bass playing wow what a solo… Mike Zito interchanging guitars going from leading the pace to add that extra layer seamlessly and then the tightest drummer providing a bedrock for the rest to play from. RSB were definitely on fire and enjoying themselves, at times there was a distinctive feel of a jam but this was quality jamming made up from talent individuals creating a cohesive and controlled sound. All thirteen songs delivered tonight deserve a mention as they all were a little bit special but for me the highlights have to be Cyril’s own title track ‘Magic Honey’ phew that was a blow away funky number, Grateful Dead’s; ‘Fire on The Mountain’ and the glorious Devon vocals that delivered ‘Gotta Keep On Rockin’ that said it all and summed up the night and why it is vital to keep music live.
The encore was the third segment of the evening as Samantha Fish joined RSB, with the fantastic duet straight from Devon’s album Turquoise ‘Stop Draggin My Heart Around’ that set the emotions on fire and the energy in the audience reached a new high – this has to be my gig of the year – a whole week later and I am still reliving the experience and for once Wow really means WOW!!!!
There can be no denying that Samantha and The Royal Southern Brotherhood, came to The Flowerpot, Derby, conquered our hearts, and left some musical magic dust in our souls. When are you coming back? very soon we hope and a big shout to Alan and Lisa that are RAW Promo for putting on another stunning evening of live entertainment.
All photographs copyright Liz Aiken