Brian Meakin Band @ JJ Smyths, Dublin 23/07/2005

The Brian Meakin Band’s show is a high energy, maximum entertainment value, sizzling six-string, no bull, tour de force. When it comes to the vigorous lightning fast technically proficient guitar techniques of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Rory Gallagher there is no doubt that Brian has studied each of his heroes well, obviously practiced his ass off and is now like a kid in a candy store capable of giving you any flavour you need, putting real spirit and not just technical ability into the traditional three piece landscape.

This three-piece powerhouse outfit is tight with an energy and primal intensity, which runs through renditions from the aforementioned gods of rock n blues with a passion oozing and dripping out of each of them.These guys can walk the walk and when they talk the talk they pay homage to the music that we all love so much and to the musicians that inspired them to get on a stage in the first place.

As time marches on we have lost many of the Brians heroes but we will still have their amazing guitar techniques and signature sounds demonstrated with pride and joy and dedicated to the joyous preservation of their musical legacy as long as talented guys like this combine their love for the music with their love for what they are doing.

What The Brian Meakin Band has got going for it is the ability to not only capture your ears but to capture your attention and hold it which is crucial in terms of attracting fresh new audiences around Ireland in through the front door to discover the musical magic of a bygone era. From the minute they walked on stage they had that in your face attitude like horses at a starting gate with a mission to keep the customer satisfied.

Brian’s guitar style is a neat hybrid of Blues and Rock that has been revisited and reshaped for the last five decades with a contemporary dynamic tube screaming analog crunch maintaining the consistent attack, making the notes sing on his green Fender Stratocastor, which is down tuned a half step to E flat giving the sound a beefier big and bouncy bite, with his right hand picking strengths adding texture, overdrive and Cry Baby wailing overtones with perfect execution on the Jimi and SRV double stop and microtonal bends.He harnesses the sound to each song with confident control creates exactly the canvas he wants without any involuntary extraneous noise or signal colouration as evidenced on his version of Rory Gallagher’s Laundromat Blues that took me back through time with authentic passion to the National Stadium on the Live in Europe tour such was the spot on tone and tempo.

He can progress confident in his ability to nail down that much loved modern blues fat swooping sound and big vibrato and he is on those slippery triplets to maintain momentum like a dog with a bone with the sound greased nicely with tube screamer, wah – wah and some sort of vibrotone creating that rotating Leslie type effect that was a staple of Jimi and Stevie Ray’s set up which he told me he had only received the day before and that the jury was still out on whether it should Clash (should it stay or should it go).

Mary had a Little Lamb, The Thrill is Gone and Jimi’s Berkley University version of Johnny B Goode show how quickly Brian switches lead to rhythm and back again throwing in a veritable encyclopaedia of blues and classic rock phrases shredding up the neck into a frenzy of melodic melting pot licks and screaming bends. Brian’s guitar performance is chock full of Texas hook-tastic heavy arm riffing, perfectly crafted slices of classic blues rock guitar that recall Green, Clapton and Pages front door mat welcome to the blues relaying a brew garnered from their own inspirations in Chicago and Texas from a generation earlier.

It’s the wonderful beauty of music, the only international language that we have got that thankfully what goes around comes around in a beautiful relay of who influenced who that should be cherished and embraced on positively blues street.Brian’s got an infectious enthusiasm on stage banter fantasizing about babysitters, G strings and focussing dedications towards some of the pretty women in the audience in a bid to channel some x and y sexual energy into the sound and the atmosphere of JJ’s on a Saturday night.He can rest assured that there is no cheese cutter walking about likely to get as much hardship as the G-string on his green Fender Stratocastor.

It all worked a treat on the night even if it’s a risky technique in Dublin with the mating response of many the macho native I’ve witnessed in the past threatening on such occasions to “shove that guitar up your hole if you don’t stop messin’ with me bird.”

Top marks for being a very hard working, genuine, dyed in the wool, music loving band and a very talented, cheeky and likable showman in Brian Meakin, spell that M…. A…. N.
The line I shoot
Will never miss
The way I make love to them
You know they can’t resist
I’m a man
I spell it M…. A…. N