A Celebration of the Music of Rory Gallagher
+ TED McKENNA & MARCEL SCHERPENZEEL
“Really has the atmosphere of a Rory concert” – Lust For Life
“This is not a tribute band but a group of its own. The trio work wonders.” – Rock & Folk
“Sparks fly from the first note. The Band of Friends is pure cracker.” – Bluesfocus
In the era of tribute acts who deliver note-perfect renditions of their heroes’ catalogues, the Band Of Friends is something different. They can do the notes played by electric blues icon Rory Gallagher. But they can also do the sound, energy and feel – because the band includes people who helped define those essential elements.
When the Irish guitarist-vocalist passed away in 1995 he left behind an eleven-album catalogue of inspired albums, and the memory of unforgettably energetic concerts.
Bassist Gerry McAvoy [Nine Below Zero, Champion Jack Dupree, Deep Joy] appeared on every one of those albums. Drummer Ted McKenna [Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Greg Lake, Gary Moore, Ian Gillan, Michael Shenker Group] powered those live shows from 1977 until 1981 and appeared on Rory’s acclaimed Photo-Finish, Top Priority and Stage Struck albums.
They old friends have teamed up with Dutch guitarist and vocalist Marcel Scherpenzeel [Wolfpin], who grew up with his bandmates’ music. If they say he’s the nearest thing you’ll get to Rory – and that’s exactly what they do say – you’d better believe them.
Ted recalls: “In 2010 Gerry told me he’d played with Marcel at a tribute show and thought he was the closest thing to Rory you’d ever hear. We got together for a play in Marcel’s dad’s blues club in Amsterdam. The impact was instant.”
Gerry says: “Rory will always be close to my heart, of course. Playing tribute shows was one thing – when I heard Marcel I knew he had it all. Close your eyes and it’s there.”
Marcel adds: “You have to approach something like this with respect and honour. I already respected Gerry and Ted, and it’s an honour to play Rory’s music with them.”
To be clear: if it wasn’t completely convincing they wouldn’t be doing it – there’s no “cashing in” going on. And the reviews from shows across Europe confirms they’re delivering what they hoped they would: an authentic Rory experience.
Theatre: The Village Venue, Dublin 2
Performances: Thursday 23 October
“The pleasure flies in your face – one cannot get enough”
“A sturdy pot of blues-rock – they impressed, and not only me” Bluesbreeker
“Emotional highlight… a fantastic interpretation” RockBlogBlues
“Ted’s drumming excellent… Gerry’s matchless game on bass… Marcel is worth his weight in gold – guitar and singing straight from the heart” Scilla
“Like no other power trio, they celebrate the amiable guitar hero’s passion on stage” The Blues Alone
“Emulating Rory’s sound has been a bugbear but Marcel has nailed it. The audience hang on every note and the band give their all” AnnularMedia
“Gerry and Ted were no backing musicians. They were part of an integral unit that allowed the maestro to present his prodigious talent. Plenty of body language was what I remember. Little nods here, smiles there and just enough ad lib without over milking the solo breaks. The tradition continues with Marcel.” Noel Buckley
Derek Flynn runs Writing.ie's SongBook blog, and is an Irish writer and musician. He has a Masters in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. He’s been published in a number of publications, including The Irish Times, and his fiction was featured in 'Surge', an anthology of new Irish writing published by O’ Brien Press with the aim of showcasing “the very best of the next generation of Irish authors”. Online he can be found at his writing/music blog – ‘Rant, with Occasional Music’ – and on Twitter as @derekf03