A packed and vibrant Oak Hotel last Friday celebrated the long anticipated return of Shropshires Blues Boy Dan. My mother made her way to the bar and I mused myself into the performing area, and bitterly learned my lesson that if I want a good seat I’m going to have to turn up long before the set time! This early remorse was eased however as I caught Dan back at the bar. Recently signed we spoke of his future tour plans and other “exciting things on the horizon”. Oak Live organiser Dai Robs had confided somewhat jokingly last month that he was unsure of whether or not Dan would fulfill his agreement to return as hoped; when I told Dan this he shook his head with a grimace and firmly replied to me that “If I book a gig I’ll do it – I never want to let people down” repeatedly.
As preperations took place me and my party managed to find a gap behind a corner to just about catch a glimpse of the stage, I can safely say that it was the biggest crowd at the Oak I’d ever participated in. The audience was buzzing and lively, and I suddenly began feeling very hot in my heavy wax jacket, but fortunately had a crisp Stella in reach to refresh me.
Improvising without the stomp box he stamped the ground furiously to begin the set strongly into Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘I Got The Same Old Blues’. His vocals boomed clearly into the lobby and was rewarded with applause sounding as far as the bar.
As much as it pains me though this was as appreciative as it got. As a consequence of such a crowd contained in such a space his vocals just couldn’t capture their entire attention for so the duration of the night. The performance was excellent but the intimacy which I’ve grown to appreciate at the Oak was missing, drowned in the dregs of drunken conversation. BBD was unphased by this set-back however – nodding along to the groove while sustaining his abilities to convert each cover divinely. His harmonica playing was exemplary, the synergy between it with the vocals and guitar was inspiring. Following each applause signalled from a final struck string he’d retaliate by finding further depth to his vocals and never once faltering, with admirably youthful energy that led to effortless performances of i.e. Willie Nelsons ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die’ that played better than the original.
Check out one of his performances on the video below. I don’t exaggerate my words, this man is talented and you should definitely make an effort to see him play soon!