Simon McBride at the Borderline
Influential music venue the Borderline in Soho has seen its share of great names that have, since its opening in 1976, gone on to shape the history of modern British and American rock, punk and New Wave. This time it was the stage for the virtuoso talents of guitarist Simon McBride who, since his debut album back in 2008, has been garnering kudos for his incredible fluency on the electric guitar. The packed room of the small club was serenaded by his irresistible, classic style of blues rock.
The setlist, made up of songs taken from his 2012 album Crossing the Line, featured fabulously performed renditions of some its strongest tracks, including: One More Try, No Room to Breathe, Don’t Be a Fool and Down to the Wire. The hypnotic, twisting sounds produced by McBride on his instrument par excellence, together with energetic back-up in the form of Marty McCloskey’s drums and Gareth Hughes’ bass. They wind seductively like a rattle-snake under the Arizona sun, building up to attack; the steely melodies reverberate like mirages in the heat, coming together in grooving full blasts.
Between each song McBride stops to ask if the audience is alright, as if in fear of having lost them to the waves of the trippy music. About halfway through he tells everyone that he will give our ears a break, beginning an acoustic interlude with perhaps the album’s best song A Rock and a Storm, characterised by a delicious riff articulated at an ever-increasing rate until one can hardly fathom how his fingers manage to play each chord.
There’s also room for McCloskey to shine, given every now and then a drum solo in which he revels in showing off his skills. The music itself, atmospheric and reminiscent of the oeuvre of the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Who and the music of the psychedelic era, is absolutely satisfying for those of us who long for true, unadulterated rock. The songs perhaps lack a little of that emblematic, unforgettable quality that would mark them on the face of rock music history, but the remarkable talent of Simon McBride certainly merits his status as one of the best guitarists in the world.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information and future events visit Simon McBride’s website here.
Watch a live performance of A Rock and a Storm here: