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Boom Boom Club, Sutton 16 September 2011
Man of the
moment, Henrik Freischlader is a name you will undoubtedly be hearing
more from in the not too distant future.
and his band play the kind of retro tinged, groove laden rock-blues that
recalls everyone from Robin Trower to Gary Moore while in his quieter
moments he evokes the subtleties of Peter Green.
London club date proved that HFB loves to seize the moment in the way
that only a classic jam band can and build instrumental blocks of
majestic beauty peppered with steely riffs, delicate interplay and an
ever present sense of spontaneity.
Henrik's unhurried, almost understated style disguises a locker full of
melodic ideas, inventive licks and cutting edge technique.
incrementally worked his way through a succession of stretched out songs
with clever dynamics that built the first set towards a climatic finish
on the extended 'Bad Dreams', a number which shifted from the languid to
the intense in a gloriously retro styled jam. The song followed a linear
progression from its muscular opening via a riff driven groove with laid
back vocals and dreamy organ, and in the blink of an eye we were into an
Henrik brought the number down, teasing out the gentlest of exploratory
notes over a subtle tension building groove as he engaged Mo Furhop on
organ for some 'call and response' interplay. Suddenly the room went
quiet and there was a mutual vibe in the making, leaving Henrik to bring
the number back in with his whispered vocal and a sudden tension
breaking explosive guitar break, as the drummer Björn Krüger thrashed
This was as
emotionally exhausting as it was musically exciting and if the band had
finished the gig at that point people would not have complained.
It was also
the pivotal moment when everything clicked, from the band's inspired
jamming to the huge crowd reaction as the front row head bangers relived
their youth. And in that illuminated flash you realised we were in the
presence of a major talent.
Henrik humorously introduced 'Break Out' as 'loud and long' and provided
the crowd with further evidence of the quartet's funky power and layered
sound on an arrangement that cleverly mirrored the claustrophobic feel
of the lyrics; 'So I'm heading nowhere, Get out of the place I'm in,
Just to make up my everywhere, So that I can go back again'.
magisterial guitar playing reached new heights on the brooding and
atmospheric 'The Bridge', the intro of which owed much to Robin Trower.
But like so much of Henrik's set it proved to be anything but
predictable, building up layers of intensity before providing a jaw
dropping dénouement when Henrik went through the full gamut of his
playing ability from some tension building single note repeats and rapid
note clusters to searing vibrato and a contrastingly tightly compressed
wah wah solo that evoked early Zappa. All this, while Björn Krüger did
his best Ginger Baker impersonation as he drove the band on with
consummate power and drive, the band were equally impressive on the
quieter material as Henrik nuanced Peter Green on the drifting blues of
'The Memory Of Our Love' and dug deep to conjure up some delicately warm
notes on Etta James's 'Id Rather Go Blind'.
there, stage left and at the core of it all was the man himself, always
half hidden beneath his peaked cap, with his gentle world weary vocals
and a cramped body language that sometimes bordered on the point of
introspection, only to suddenly explode with a scorching flurry of notes
to offer you glimpses of his towering ability.
perched sideways on to the crowd, he often appeared transfixed by a
spell of intense concentration, broken only by a knowing smile directed
at his band mates as he launched into another layer of guitar magic.
And as the
band hit the home straight with a brace of songs featuring Henrik's take
on Hendrix and a cover of Roy Buchanan's 'The Messiah Will Come Again' -
dedicated to his hero Gary Moore - the crowd rose as one to greet a new
bona fide guitar hero.