REVIEW // ‘Swing ya partner’: True Strays mash-up blues, rock and more


Bristol’s True Strays got the crowd in a frenzy at their sold-out show at Crofters Rights

After hearing delta rock ’n’ roll revivalists True Strays’ name several times whispered on the winds of the Americana music scene, I was keen to discover this sought-after live band making strong leaps forward in the genre-blending that makes Americana such a broad and dynamic musicality. A country musician myself, the invitation to get groovy, bluesy and sweaty at Crofters Rights was far too appealing and I snapped up a ticket quicktime.

the invitation to get groovy, bluesy and sweaty at Crofters Rights was far too appealing

After negotiating some extra bodies into the sold-out show in exchange for a free beer (cheers James!) we took up our places amongst the gathered crowd ready to inhale some real rock ’n’ roll.

As a Gloucestershire-born lass and a live music enthusiast, I spent most of my pre-clubbing teens stuck to the walls in what was then The Croft at sweaty punk shows. Now Crofters Rights, a more hipster and attractive, craft-cider take on the old venue, the building still echoes with the history of countless moshpits and sweaty, writhing bodies that keeps the raw energy alive. A great place for a dirty blues/ Americana/ rock ’n’ roll show. Bring it on…

the building still echoes with the history of countless moshpits and sweaty, writhing bodies that keeps the raw energy alive

We were firstly blessed with the sweet and sensual sounds of the lovely Samatha Lindo and her band. Soft and soothing jazz-inspired vocals with more contemporary guitar, keys, horn and drums made for a truly gorgeous way to open the evening.

Soft and soothing jazz-inspired vocals (…) made for a truly gorgeous way to open the evening

Weaving poetry, spoken word and beautiful lyricism through her songs, Samantha presented some very raw and real issues about love, life and the human condition through her uplifting tones. With an exceptionally talented band of musicians performing with her, I can well imagine Samantha shooting up to the top with an alarming speed – eyes peeled for this girl!

Onto the main event and True Strays opened up with a few of their classic foot-stompers, getting hips wiggling in the packed out room. Flooding the stage with lip-pursing dirty riffs, wailing guitar solos and A REAL LIVE HAMMOND ORGAN (how do they tour that thing?), True Strays payed homage to the old days of rock ’n’ roll with a nod to honky tonk, woven through filthy basslines and the sort of guitar riffs that make you stick your bottom lip out and screw your nose up.

filthy basslines and the sort of guitar riffs that make you stick your bottom lip out and screw your nose up

After a couple of slightly softer and more melody-driven tunes, the boys cracked on with a few more grittier numbers that had the crowd tossing each other about in true Crofters style. ‘Swing ya partner’ came the cry from the stage as the drums swept everybody away in a mash-up of country, Americana, blues, heavy rock and a little sprinkle of some Arctic Monkeys-style magic.

Reaching a heart-bursting crescendo at the end of the evening with a well-planned encore of Oh My Darling

Reaching a heart-bursting crescendo at the end of the evening with a well-planned encore of Oh My Darling – a singalong tribute to the partners of musicians who spend their days away from home – the True Strays pottered off the stage ready to make their way to the bar.

A fantastic evening of truly amazing live music and performance – here’s to many more years of True Strays on the stage. P.S – never got you that beer, James. Make sure you guys play again soon!

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