[photo credit: Neil McCarty)
Banton performed at Esquires on Saturday 2 November, launching is new EP, Ball and Chain. Alison Taylor reviewed the gig..
Having spent much of the year performing solo on a chair due to his broken leg, it’s great to see Banton literally back on his feet, performing with his brand new band.
The intimate atmosphere of Banton’s solo performances is in contrast to tonight’s high energy performance. The rhythm section, born from the embers of the Smokin’ Durrys are tight and help give the overall sound of a band who have been playing live together for much longer.
Bedford seems particularly drunk tonight (9am Rugby World Cup beers anyone?) and the crowd’s rowdy appreciation increases with each new song.
Banton is an artist who refuses to be musically pigeonholed. Unapologetic about his musical influences, Banton’s set sees him explore his relationship with old-school rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues, hip-hop, spoken word, indie rock with even a little touch of country thrown in for good measure.
His new EP (‘Ball and Chain’ – the single was written in response to his frustrating experience with the aforementioned broken leg) is brilliantly sequenced, opening with the instant appeal of ‘Trouble Street’ and includes lyrical gems like the new single ‘Champagne’, the deeply personal ‘Bad Beans’, followed by the anthemic ‘Heavyweight Champion’ and the sweet Willie J Healey-esque dedication to brotherly love ‘Miniature Replica of Me’ before closing with the song that sums up Banton: ‘Music is the Drug that we all Need’.
He lives and breathes music and it’s great to see that passion on stage and to see how well the band have come together in a short time.
Banton is a great storyteller whose lyrics and performance seem to effortlessly connect with his audience. (And a cracking encore rendition of ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ never hurts.)
See Banton at The Horn in St Albans on 13th November and The Edge in Luton on 23rd November