Anticipation has loomed large following the announcement that Aziz: Asian Blues Collective would be coming to An Lanntair on Saturday September 19.
The group consists of former Stone Roses and Ian Brown guitarist Aziz Ibrahim, and Tabla master Dalbir Singh Rattan.
They recently came to Stornoway for an afternoon jam with a question and answer session, then an evening concert with the Lewis Pipe Band supporting.
What an absolutely extraordinary afternoon and evening it was!
Starting in the mid-afternoon on Saturday, Aziz took us on a journey through his long and varied musical career, explaining Dal and his approach to reaching a unique blend of music.
The two invited several members of the audience on-stage for an awesome, spontaneous jam, featuring the exceptional vocals of local Gaelic singer Ceitlin Smith.
There was a short talk on Aziz’s song-writing techniques followed by a question and answer session.
Then of course came the concert at 9pm - what a brilliant idea to pack away the auditorium seating!
The open floor plan made the event feel like a warm and wonderfully relaxed house party.
The performance opened with a breath-taking and rousing set from The Lewis Pipe Band followed by Aziz and Dal casually taking the stage then launching into a long, extended, spacey instrumental displaying their incredible virtuosity. I was completely blown-away and it was only their first song.
The duo then followed that with the song ‘Middle Road’ from their album Rusholme Rock.
We heard the Ian Brown song ‘Corpses in Their Mouths’, which Aziz wrote all the music for, ‘She Dances with Angles’ from Aziz’s solo album ‘Lahore to Longsight’, and they closed the first set with a truly phenomenal version of The Stone Roses ‘Fools Gold’.
After a wee break and to Aziz’s delight, the Lewis Pipe Band once again opened the second half, before Aziz and Dal rocked into a cover of ‘I Fought the Law (And the Law One)’ also on Rusholme Rock.
There was a Reggae beat into a super-Funked-up, Dancey cover of The Staple Singers ‘I’ll Take You There’, Stone Roses’ ‘This Is The One’ - a totally mesmerising ‘trip around the world via music’.
We were also treated to .‘Morassi’ from ‘Rusholme Rock’, a piece focusing the spotlight on Dal’s tabla playing, and then they went into some super jamming: a bit of ‘Hotel California’, a looooong dancey tune, closing with The Beatle’s ‘Dear Prudence’ going into Ian Brown/Aziz’s ‘My Star’.
The encore was ‘The Other Side’ from ‘Lahore to Longsight’.
And there’s loads more musical delights to look forward to! This weekend in the Star Inn, Stornoway’s premier Blues Rock band, ‘Trouble Is’, are playing on Saturday night (September 26) in the Star Inn. On Friday (October 2) in the Woodlands Centre, WEE Studio presents a charity gig for the Gambia Partnership, featuring Colin Macleod, Dun Ringles, Rosie Sullivan, with Emily Ross making her debut live appearance.
Saturday (October 3) in the An Lanntair it’s International Guitar Night, featuring the world-class acoustic playing of Andre Krengel, Brian Gore, Lulo Reinhardt and Mike Dawes.
Friday (October 16) in the Woodlands Centre, it’s the “must see” and highly-acclaimed newcomer Eaves, plus local supports Iain ‘Spanish’ Mackay, Rod Morrison and Donald Macleod.
Rounding off next month on Saturday, October 31 look out for a Charity Fundraiser in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support at the Woodlands, featuring ‘Neosa, who will be launching his new ‘Penny’ EP. There will also be support from Iain ‘Spanish’ Mackay and The Shed.
And we’re still going strong into November, with ‘Drunken Promotion Presents’ taking another super-duper Country Rock band The New Madrids to the Golf Club. Then on Saturday, November 28 in the Woodlands Centre check out Macclesfield alt.Rock band Racing Glaciers, with local supports Black Cub and GUTS.
Pictured are the’ Aziz: Asian Blues Collective’ which consists of former Stone Roses and Ian Brown guitarist Aziz Ibrahim, and Tabla master Dalbir Singh Rattan.