The Keep, Guildford *****
Whether it be with his Champions of the World band, solo or supergroup trio Bennet Wilson Poole, Loose Music artist Danny Wilson is a force to be reckoned with. A musical force of nature.
Wilson’s exuberance and stage presence is infectious. He recently delivered a superb two-hour set to a packed Keep pub in Guildford.
His mischievous sense of humour always to the fore, Wilson couldn’t resist a good-natured pop at middle-class Guildford “I’m from Sutton which is a two Greggs town and I see Guildford is a two Ivy town.” He later quipped “Being a musician is the only job where you can have a Chinese take-away and two pints before you go to work!”
Backed by a superb band, largely made up of his Champions, with Paul Lush on guitar, Joe Bennett on bass, vocals and trumpet, Steve Brookes on drums and Henry Garratt on keys, Wilson stormed through a set featuring songs from his recent solo album, Another Place, augmented by Champions and Grand Drive tracks, with a couple of well-judged covers thrown in for good measure.
Opening with Lost Future and Sincerely Hoping, he set the tone for the show. Catchy, clever tunes delivered confidently. This was a fun gig, for band and audience. There was much smiling, happiness and dancing in the room throughout the night.
The standout Right Place slowed the tempo, a beautiful song with a great guitar solo from Lush, which built to a crescendo, and one of several extended riff jams.
An acoustic version of the Champions’ Red Tree Song had Lush on mandolin, and Bennett receiving rapturous applause for a fine trumpet contribution.
Jukebox, from Wilson’s first recorded band, Grand Drive, went downa treat, with more dancing and singing, and a strong keyboard solo by Garratt.
The encore That Old Space Rocket was excellent and hilarious. Wilson passed vocal duties to bassist Bennett, and more or less made him sing the whole song by repeatedly backing away from the mic.
There’s good news for UK Danny and the Champions fans. Danny revealed to BOON that 2023 will bring a new album and UK tour.