Live Review: Dylan Le Blanc & The Pollies The Keep Guildford 6th September 2019

When Howard from People Music announced this gig, I admit, I hadn’t heard of Dylan Le Blanc. I Googled him and realised straight away, this was a gig I wanted to go to. It sold out pretty quickly, so I’m glad I had got on the case when I did.

I didn’t know whether Dylan would be playing solo or with a band.

When we arrived and saw the full band’s gear set up, and were actually warned it was going to be loud , I knew this wasn’t going to be an acoustic evening!

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Dylan plays with The Pollies who are the perfect band for him, they look and sound so great together. Baseball caps, beards and great guitars. Such awesome guitars. A Gibson SG played by Dylan, a lovely sunburst Fender Jaguar which Jay Burgess pushes and pulls to wonderful effect and a classic black Rickenbacker bass with which Spencer Duncan adds groove and bounce (and sometimes feedback).

Dylan met drummer Jon Davis at Fame Studio in Muscle Shoals ten years ago and they formed ‘an awful’ blues band together – just the two of them. Well tonight, with a total of five musicians performing, also including Clint Chandler on keys, they are magnificent. It’s classic American alternative rock. I can hear echoes of Tom Petty, Neil Young, Ryan Adams and Dylan’s soulful voice at times reminds me of Chris Isaak.

Dylan sings, with eyes closed, reaching high notes and pulling out emotions.

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The band played for an hour or so, before leaving. Dylan returned and played a couple of beautiful acoustic songs on a brown Martin acoustic. His voice and dexterity sublime.

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The band returned and Jay was invited to sing a few of The Pollies songs. The microphone was moved over to him and away they went. The Keep is such an intimate venue with no stage that I could have reached out and touched Jay as he sang. It felt wonderful to be standing so close to these brilliant musicians, clearing thoroughly enjoying themselves. ‘This is fun’ said Dylan ‘much more fun than I thought it was going to be!’.

Here’s ‘Hold On My Heart’ with Jay on vocals.

The microphone was handed back to Dylan for the title track of his current album, ‘Renegade‘. By now, the crowd was ecstatic. This small Guildford pub, fully transformed into a hot Alabama bar. An amazing night – thanks Howard!

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