Henry Parker states in one of his songs that if something isn’t a question then it doesn’t need an answer – and there’s no question in the quality of his (and his bands’) skill, but I’ll give my “answer” anyway.
Parker and his band, The Velvet Loons, played a short but powerful set in the small and personal downstairs area of The Social in London. The event was personal enough for me to meet Henry Parker before he played – where I was informed they were minus one guitarist – who also sang harmonies on some of their songs and that the band would thus have to “busk it”. This at first lowered my expectations slightly, but after hearing them play with only 75% of the band I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of sound they could create with their full line-up – and left me hoping that I would at some point have the opportunity to see it.
Henry fronted the band with raw vocals, and a stage persona that was like someone chatting with his friends whilst he jammed in his living room – as opposed to someone fronting a bad at a gig. He also sported a level of guitar playing that by all means shouldn’t have been manageable whilst singing at the same time. This was best shown in the couple of guitar solos that Parker took, as well as in a classic blues style call and response improvisation that occurred between him and the drummer in their last song – Long Time Coming Round – both of them expressing their instrumental skills as the audience simply watched in awe.
The event was intended as the launch for Henry Parker & The Velvet Loon’s new single, Red Fox, which was the first song they played during the night. The track is comparable to many of the greats, with it’s classic Hendrix style wah-guitar riff, anthemic chorus and suggestive lyrics of a woman who walks “the streetlight path”.
The band played with massive enthusiasm and skill from the beginning to the end of their set, looking like they were ready to explode from the stage that was too small for their energy. After the band had finished their set, a projector screen was pulled down for a showing the Red Fox music video, the creator of which was in the audience. Once the video had been played and the screen removed everyone either went to the upstairs bar area of the venue. After a short time milling around I made my exit, where on the way I was given advice which I will now pass on – keep an eye and ear out for Henry Parker & The Velvet Loons, there’s many good things to come.
::: covering the latest live events in London (UK) for RenownedForSound.com