Josh Smith – Borderline London – 26th March 2019

A plan was made…
A rendezvous…
Meet up with Karlos in India before moving on to the next adventure in time and space…
Taking refuge at Govinda’s we devised a plan to follow the thread of timelines pertaining to the electric guitar. We set off on our journey. After loading the parameters into the time machine and pressing go, the machine whirred and fired as expected. Then upon landing we ventured outside to find that, apparently, we were in exactly the same spot in exactly the same timeline… We called the ATMA recovery people and decided to go the Borderline to see Josh Smith instead…
Wherein we discovered the answer…
Disclamer: read no further if you are not a fan of guitar
music and/or get upset by the idea of extended instrumental passages…

The guitar and gear gods had smiled on us this evening as we entered The Borderline to see the stage bedecked with an array of first-class audio equipment. Further still, it would be in the hands of those who could well use it to help satisfy our enquiring minds.

Being somewhat of a guitar enthusiast (geek), occasionally enjoying some of the many guitar related videos available on the internet, (which activity) has brought to my attention a number of talented individuals, one of whom is the super capable player Josh Smith.

A recent video with Josh on Andertons TV, once again highlighted his skills and he also happened to mention he was currently on tour in the UK, which got me thinking… After a quick check of the calendar and a call to Karlos, tickets were purchased for the London show of the tour. Which brings us back here…

We ventured towards the stage to secure our viewing positions. Where, along with many others we cast a keen eye across Josh’s set up; three beautiful guitars, a brace of amplifiers and Josh’s marvellous new Schmidt Array pedalboard built by pedalboard Supremo Dan Steinhardt of the Gig Rig and That Pedal Show renown.

Support act Rory Evans, bravely sat in front of a packed borderline with a lone acoustic guitar and proceeded to capture the hearts of the crowd with his guitar virtuosity, showmanship and banter. A good warm up.

On to the main attraction…

Tonight’s sell-out show in London’s West-end, saw wall to wall guitar enthusiasts (geeks – present company included) packed into this fairly intimate venue.

As Josh and his band took the stage all recent fluctuations of time and space began to cohere. Josh appears down to earth and at ease, no mean feat given the soaring, searing guitar lines he pumps out. A very fluid style sees him going out on creative limbs, coming back down to earth and weaving in many licks and riffs which nod to his influences (from across the whole of electric guitar history with a heavy helping of Blues, Rock, Soul and Jazz). At one point there was a bit of a nod to Charlie Christian, which struck me as so cool, how it had been added into the context of one of the extended instrumental sections with great subtlety. (I spoke briefly to Josh afterwards saying to him “7 Come 11” to which he excitedly replied “Yeah man! That was in there…” )

The numbers of the main set tonight were all Josh Smith originals available from his catalogue of Album releases. Post show, I purchased the most recent two and they are both great. However, live is where it really seems to happen. The numbers, stripped of the studio finery, are brought to life in front of your eyes and ears, in this marvellous 3-piece format. Talking of which, bassist Jonathan Noyce and drummer Darren Mooney, perfectly complemented Josh’s songs and playing as they subtly underpinned the song frameworks and created a perfect platform for Josh to explore. They were also allowed plenty of room to shine in their own right, with extended solos and passages.

2 hours or so were over in a flash and all too soon they exited stage right and (we) the crowd were howling and whooping for more…

To which the answer came, in the form of an encore comprising just one song. However, within that song a journey was undertaken, exploring sonic frontiers far and wide before returning to the earthly confines of the song structure. And that song was tonight’s only cover, a beautifully mind-blowing rendition Jimi Hendrix – Angel. Sublime!

Offstage post-performance Josh appears calm, centred and down to earth with a winning, infectious smile (I’m guessing this comes as a result of him having heavily worked his mojo up on stage for the last couple of hours). He takes the time to stop and talk with everyone who says hello and happily obliges those who ask for a photo (including Karlos).

If you are an electric guitar geek, or simply a music lover who likes their Blues/Rock with a healthy dose of Soul and a smattering of Jazzy leanings, I really can’t recommend a Josh Smith live show highly enough. Check it out!

We ventured back out into the mild London evening and found that the ATMA agent had discovered the source of the issue with our Time Machine… A crack in the ST housing unit had caused a temporal malfunction and while we hadn’t appeared to have travelled anywhere, this malfunction had caused a singularity along the lines of our intention and drawn creative energy along timelines spanning 90 years both future and past with the present as the source. Ah well that explains it then! Oh, and we got a parking ticket from the year 1967!

Over…

Words: Matthew Elvis Brown

Photos: Karlos Antrobus

http://www.joshsmithguitar.com/

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