Simon McBride has an interesting musical history, starting his career with Belfast rockers Sweet Savage alongside Vivien Campbell before playing soul, r&b and blues with Andrew Strong of Commitments movie fame. He's now pursuing a solo career playing the kind of blues rock that inspired him to pick up the guitar in the first place.
This UK tour started in the less than glamorous surroundings of Bannerman's bar in Edinburgh and with the sort of understated presentation seemingly expected in the blues world Simon and his bass player and drummer just sauntered through the crowd and onto the stage, plugged in and started to play.
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At this point in his career McBride is definitely in Joe Bonamassa territory and his excellent current album 'Crossing The Line' is a commercial slice of mostly self penned blues rock and songs from that made up most of the set here. This is a very good idea as all those songs sounded much better than the older material and strong songs combined with McBride's terrific warm guitar tones and rich vocal delivery made for a very nice combination indeed.
The fluid guitar runs in 'So Much Love To Give' sounded great and would have impressed any musos in the crowd, 'Go Down Gamblin'' was a groovy and catchy success and 'Don't Be A Fool' was just effortlessly both modern sounding and bluesy.
Personally I could have done without the little acoustic set and the Hendrix cover, 'Spanish Castle Magic' and there was a touch too much guitar virtuosity on display from time to time but when you have a song as good as 'One More Try' to end the set on and it's played so well by such a professional band then you find you're glad you came.
Including McBride in MetalTalk.net might be pushing the boundaries of the music covered by the site a little but I think he has the credentials and the sound to interest anyone into the rocker side of the blues. I hesitate to repeat the Bonamassa comparison but McBride does occupy similar territory but having seen both I would recommend Mcbride as the better show to see. Plus it's a lot cheaper!