Jake Stokes and the Smoking Barrels played a highly enjoyable and incredibly danceable blues-rock set last Saturday. There was a reasonable crowd there to see the show but for some reason everyone seemed reluctant to get up and dance, but that does not slow the band down at all……the sound is tight, and the boys are all having a great time on stage. There is obviously a lot of musical talent in this band and most of the time they have a fairly natural presence with each other, making good use of what is a fairly big space for a 3-piece. Overall they put on a pretty good show, but what really catches my attention is that Jake manages to pull off some fairly complicated guitar solos without managing to look too pretentious (and I generally find guitar solos a bit wanky, so that’s a big call).
Going in I knew there would likely be a lot of covers, as this band has only been together about a year, however, what I didn’t realise until after the show was that all bar one song were – and that is just one example of how well thought out the set was: a lot of the covers were lesser known blues-rock songs, chosen for their ‘danciness’ and every song was given its own subtle, slightly rocky, spin by the band. Highlights were These Boots Are Made for Walkin’, Freebird and (believe it or not) one of the best instrumental versions I have heard of While My Guitar Gently Weeps (again from someone who loves that song and does not like guitar solos/instrumentals in general).
Currently, they are working on a new album so (hopefully) we may see a the odd show around Wellington over the next few months and there will be a few more originals in the set. I will definitely be there with my dancing shoes on (and possibly with a rock’n’roll partner in tow).
Check out some of their songs here.