The Pat McManus Band Live at Bannermans, Edinburgh

The Pat McManus Band Live at Bannermans 10

He’s a busy chap, that Pat McManus. The Dark Emerald Highway tour continued it’s long and winding road around Europe with a stop off at Bannerman’s Bar in Edinburgh. According to Bassist Marty the actual itinerary was put together by a blind bloke throwing darts at a map,  and with all the back and forwarding across Europe you can believe it, the PMB certainly rack up the miles.

For those of us of *cough* a certain age tonight was something of a special occasion, taking us back nigh on 30 years to when Pat and the Mama’s Boys were regular attendees at the sadly defunct Edinburgh Venue just down the road.

The Pat McManus Band Live at Bannermans 7Accompanied by the happiest looking rhythm section in Rock’N’Roll, Pat’s power trio are an incredible live experience who have been wowing crowds all over the place, including a show stealing performance at the HRH Blues festival earlier in the year.

there is very little in the way of fanfare as Pat and the guys arrive on stage, and after setting up and plugging in they launch straight into S before X and we’re off. I’ve said it before (often) and I’ll no doubt keep sating it until everyone listens, Pat McManus is a phenomenal guitarist. Quite how a band this tight can make it look quite this easy I have no idea, but they do and the packed crowd in Bannerman’s is having a great old time.

The Pat McManus Band Live at Bannermans 8As usual the setlist spans just about Pat’s entire career, with the inclusion of Mama’s Boys classics getting a typically noisy response. Runaway Dreams and Straight Forward remind us how good these songs really are, but it’s the inevitable up-tempo blast through Needle In The Groove that provides the pick of the oldies.

The new bluesier stuff goes down well too, nothing like an unashamedly partisan crowd. The whole band have a genuine rapport between themselves on stage, and it shows. Pat’s little inter-song chats with the audience all add to the sense of occasion.

A group of mates having a bit of a party, what’s not to love ?

Pat McManus is almost the last man standing form a generation of phenomenal Irish guitarists, a flag bearer for a generation of talent which may never be bettered. He may have been doing this for three decades, but if the years are slowing him down then it certainly doesn’t show.

Oooh, maybe the band should do a Mama’s Boys set one day, chuck in Hard and Loud, Power and Passion and all the other gems from the back catalogue and  that’d be a gig not to be missed.