Live Review: Robert Jon And The Wreck / Bywater Call – Tunnels, Aberdeen 14.02.2023

The uniquely wonderful venue that is the Tunnels in Aberdeen was packed to the rafters for Robert Jon and the Wreck’s visit to Northern Scotland. A friendly vibe with the odd stetson and cowboy boots as the audience patiently waited for the entertainment to start while country rock played in the background.

The band had invited Canadian band Bywater Call, along as support for this tour. Originally a seven-piece band, Bywater Cal was represented by the founding members Megan Parnell and Dave Barnes. Presenting their songs as a two-piece didn’t take anything away and in fact created a rather intimate situation that allowed them to really let the tracks shine. They know how to captivate an audience and keep them quiet.

Barnes swapped between electric and acoustic guitars whilst Parnell laid down some general jaw droppingly powerful and gritty vocals. They made many a new fan tonight with those vocals, i’m sure. Barnes easily matched her talent with his prowess on guitar and foot pedal. They rattled through their set enjoying raptures applause after each song. Parnell showed her surprise at the enthusiasm thrown back at the duo from the crowd after asking them to join in on the song ‘Silver Lining’. I can only imagine what the full band sound like if these two members are anything to go by. Luckily we don’t have too long to wait as they are due to hit our shores later this year.

A quick trip to the bar in the break between bands and I was back in my spot for Robert Jon and his band to take the stage. There was a real buzz in the place now after Bywater’s session and the band took the stage to an excited audience. Sliding straight into ‘Pain No More’ the band ripped up the stage even with having sound difficulties with Jon’s guitar. The band covering with a jam whilst Jon tried to fix the problem.

‘Do you Remember’ and ‘Waiting For Your Man’ came next with Jon apologising for the problems and slight delay, wanting to give the audience a good experience. The jam sessions were something of a frequent occurrence throughout the night with Jon moving to the back of the stage to allow his band to take over and whip up some good old country rock. Something everyone here was hugely in the mood for. Closing with the epic ‘Cold Night’, a live staple of the bands repertoire, they followed with ‘Last Light On The Highway’ as an encore to a very satisfied full house.

For the second time that night the audience where treated to some incredible vocals. Jon’s vocals sit perfectly over the country tinged rock these guys play. Full of emotion of raw power helped by the sound engineers who had the band sounding as good as they look on stage. There were smiles all round from the band and you can tell these guys weren’t just going through the motions. Drummer Andrew Espantman was really enjoying himself and that joy was reflected back from the audience. Particularly from guitarist Henry James Schneekluth with his mesmerising guitar work and for looking like a love child between Hendrix And Lynott. Jon is blessed to have musicians like these guys to help create his sound.

Why this band are sticking to the smaller venues is beyond me. They are ready for the bigger stages and certainly capable, but I was glad tonight was a more intimate setting to witness one of Country’s best bands. The band’s EP ‘One Of A Kind,’ is due on the 10th of March via Joe Bonamassa’s newest independent label, Journeyman Records.

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