Caffeine addicts had gathered from far and wide to come and see Greg and the boys tonight, some from as far afield as Bournemouth. So it was a fine mix of locals and visitors which gathered at Lanercost’s fourth performance night of the season. Bill Lloyd was hailed as the saviour of the night as he stepped in at the last minute to cover for the original support act. To describe him as simply a substitute would undervalue his contribution to tonight’s event. Performing his slot in a truly unplugged fashion with no amplification he entertained the audience with his voice and banjo. Drawing from a variety of roots he sang a cappella for his opening song and then weaved his way through a short collection of songs ranging from Welsh fairy tales to Memphis bluegrass.

Greg Wilson has come a long way since the release of his first recording ‘Something like this’. Gathering together a troupe of accomplished musicians, he has been putting himself on the map at festivals, pubs and clubs on a regular basis. Opening up with the dramatic ‘Here I am on the corner’, the band launched an assault of high octane numbers, some of them very new and being delivered for the first time to this appreciative audience. Greg Wilson is a captivating front man with a voice which soars the ranges with consummate ease. He entertained us with the illusion that our select gathering was in fact being broadcast via a live stream to 50 million youtube subscribers!

Jimmy Page, the celebrated Led Zeppelin guitarist once coined a phrase ‘light and shade’ and this band have it in spades. Ballads and upbeat songs like ‘Let the good times come’ contrasted with darker moments such as ‘Crawl into Midnight’, a floydesque offering written by guitarist Paul Haley. Paul’s talents also came to the fore when he performed a magnificent version of his Rory Gallagher-inspired instrumental ‘Western Plain’. Tribute also must  be paid to Nick Brownlee and Rob Plevin’s thundering rhythm section which anchored the professionally delivered musical mix. The final song was a smoking rendition of U2’s ‘Desire’ and, after the inevitable encore, Greg and the band talked and joked with their fans, no doubt gaining many more disciples to the cause.

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