Tuesday 22 October 2013

Crowley, Gibbs, Burton and Hamblett - Whirlwind Supergroup

George Crowley - Saxophone
We stepped back into the era of the supergroup on Day 2 (11/10/2013) of the Whirlwind Festival, think Emerson, Lake and Palmer or numerically Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to be more accurate. This day Crowley, Gibbs, Burton and Hamblett lived up to their super status with one of the performances of the festival. As the definition suggests a supergroup is a music group whose members are already successful as solo artists or as part of other groups, so let me give you a quick breakdown of their Whirlwind credentials -
George Crowley - Paper Universe, May 2102
Tom Gibbs - Fear of Flying, October 2012
Euan Burton - Occurences, May 2012
Dave Hamblett - Light at Night, Feb 2013

Tom Gibbs - piano
Normally I make notes alongside the drawings in my sketchbook but I was so energised by the performance I hardly noted which tune stood proud and which wavered a little. Perhaps to hide this personal oversight but in truth to highlight the complete performance of this quartet all the compositions were of the highest quality and the 50 minute set slipped through our fingers.

Euan Burton - Bass
Their fifth tune does need to be complimented though, Tom Gibb's "Rebecca's Song" presents itself as a swirling spiral stairwell with unexpected and unnerving false steps to trip you up. As if to balance this unpredictably and to represent Gibbs' muse (his 3 year old daughter) more accurately, the tune also ascends with tenderness. With an emotive twist that moistens the eyes when George Crowley rattles his saxophone with a frail breath or two.

Dave Hamblett - drums
As a quartet they juggled each others compositions like a line of rugby backs on a searing wave of attacks. Gibbs handling Crowley's "Paper Universe" with a deftness and skill while the whole team worked seamlessly on Burton "Part 6", drawing out its hurting subtleties while riding the tune's rollercoaster tempos.

Al & Lisa Buchan
I confirmed my suspicions about the concert when I spoke to two members of the audience, Lisa Buchan and husband Al. Lisa was bowled over by the lightfooted Crowley and Tom Gibbs caught Al's eye, but lets avoid embarrassing them with over-exaggerated praise. Instead lets have a little fun because if they did indeed possess superhero status then.......

......George Crowley would be The Atom, the diminuitive tough guy, packing an energy charged 'atomic punch' on his saxophone. Tom Gibbs is Plastic Man, with  his long limbs and the flexibility to mould himself to any tune. Euan Burton, doubles as the intelligent Reed Richards, sporting that trademark grey shock to his temples . Dave Hamblett would of course be Clark Kent/Superman with those glasses and handsome visage......

...and because of that strategically placed drum kit we will never know whether Hamblett wears his pants over the top of his trousers.


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