Artists: Robert Jon And The Wreck, Caitlin Krisko And The Broadcast
Venue: Liverpool, Academy 2
Date: 16 September 2023
If you get a chance to see the back end of this tour I can highly recommend both bands. A great show all round and a great night.
Caitlin Krisko and The Broadcast are a totally new act to me, but whenever you go to see Robert Jon And The Wreck you can always guarantee that the handpicked support band will be of the highest quality. The venue tonight is probably my favourite Academy venue. It’s a bit more laid back than most and the old Liverpool warehouse building is really suitable for the more intimate show. The fact that it’s really hot and sweaty in here tonight is perfect. If you close your eyes you can almost imagine that you are in an old school New Orleans gin bar with with an appreciative crowd listening to Rock and Blues music performed by seasoned musicians.
Caitlin Krisko and The Broadcast hit the stage at around 7:45pm and are straight into the opening track from their 2020 album, ‘Lost My Sight’ (which was released under the bands name The Broadcast if you are looking for it.) Just a few bars into ‘Half Asleep’ and it’s clear we are in safe hands. Caitlin has a voice to die for, both empathetic and expressive with a style that makes it clear that she means every word. The crowd are immediately at it. People have their eyes closed and are singing and swaying and the band soon pick up on the crowd’s energy. Aaron Austin on lead guitar has a laid-back style but is an absolutely top flight musician. I told him after the show that the two guitarists I’d seen tonight were probably the best I’d seen all year and to have them both on the same bill was amazing.
‘Blue Heron’ follows and is another fine Blues song, but the song of the night for me is the old school ballad ‘Haunted By You’. Highly emotional and beautifully sung, this one wrings every last drop out of the Merseyside audience. It’s clear that all of the band members are true craftsmen and while I normally veer towards the heavier side of Rock music I’d have had no problem if this band had been headlining tonight, they were that good. ‘Devil On Your Side’ sounds much heavier than its studio recording counterpart and much the same could be said about ‘Operator’. ‘Led Blood’ has a groove that sounds like it was forged deep in the Appalachian mountains and its slow build is another highlight of the night.
The band then hit us with a storming cover version of the Led Zeppelin classic ‘Rock And Roll’ which brings the house down, before the set closes far too quickly with rocker ‘Fighting The Feeling’. There are groans of disappointment when the crowd realise this is the last song of the night. I loved everything about these guys, from the obvious camaraderie between the band members to the sheer amount of effort they put into this show. They’ve promised to return soon and I for one can’t wait.
Robert Jon And The Wreck are tonight’s headline act and are always great value for money, but tonight they’ve been set a real benchmark to achieve with the high quality support act. It’s quickly apparent that won’t be a problem. The sound is great in here tonight and Robert Jon Burrison is on fine form. His laid-back style and laconic wit quickly resonate with the audience and the band have everybody in the palm of their hands with opening track ‘Pain No More’, a medium paced rocker with a big chorus. ‘Do You Remember’ is as heartfelt and nostalgia-tinted as always and everyone in here knows all the words, singing along and dancing to their heart’s content. ‘This Time Around’ is a slide guitar masterclass from Henry James Schneekluth but the best is yet to come from him.
The country tinged ‘Ride Into The Light’ goes down a storm in Liverpool, but it’s ‘Tired Of Drinking Alone’ that tips the crowd over the edge. There’s a decent sized audience in here tonight and virtually everybody knows these songs by heart, almost drowning out the singer during the chorus. ‘Don’t Look Down’ picks up the pace again and ‘High Time’ keeps the party rocking. What I love about this band is that they are a well-oiled machine (probably due to their punishing touring schedule) and everything seems effortless. ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ has a heavier edge than most of the band’s music and heads are now banging, while ‘Bring Me Back Home Again’ is clearly a crowd favourite with a huge hook and chorus that play this audience like a fiddle. ‘Gold’ is the band’s big ballad and is beautifully and emotionally sung by the main man who is now just standing still, playing his guitar and staring straight into the crowd. It’s brilliant stuff and a text book example of how to perform this kind of song.
‘Oh Miss Carolina’ is another mellow but rocking masterpiece, but the highlight of the night is yet to come. ‘Cold Night’ has always been one of my favourite Robert Jon tracks and on vinyl it’s just over four minutes long. The extended jam version that this band play tonight lasts around twenty minutes. It’s clearly their version of a showstopper in the manner of a track like ‘Freebird’ from Lynyrd Skynyrd and it is quite simply the best thing I’ve seen on a live stage this year. Henry knocks this one out of the park, playing a couple of huge five minute solos that are simply exhilarating. He doesn’t miss a single note and my hat is off to him for what I’ve heard tonight. A craftsman who is one of the best I’ve ever seen, a stunning effort. The set closes with ‘Shine A Light On Me Brother’ which ends things in a suitably satisfactory manner and all too soon one of the best shows I’ve seen all year is over. If you get a chance to see the back end of this tour I can highly recommend both bands. A great show all round and a great night.
Review and Photos: Graeme Wright