Aynsley Lister – Cool Britannia

Lister-31-EditIt’s only  9pm and Aynsley Lister is already signing CD’s at the Harmonie.  No it wasn’t the shortest set yet at a live concert – just a broken snare drum that had the show on hold.  After all the Rockpalast video chaos recently I was expecting a more relaxing evening out.  It was a Monday after all.  Trust the genial guitarman from Leicester to keep me on my toes.

I had mixed emotions coming to this show.  Last year there were some snippets played from the yet to be released follow up to 2009’s excellent Equilibrium and the new numbers sounded varied and promising.  When it came out though  the new CD, ‘Home’  didn’t really grab me.  Despite the co-production credits of Wayne Proctor (Oli Brown and King King) it didn’t quite set my ears on fire.

The band this evening is, with the exception of Mr Proctor, the one on the CD.  It’s actually Proctors replacement Benito Dryden who’s caused the surprise break,  and it came just when the band were settling in and getting the sound tight.  We’d had the excellent ‘Early Morning Dew’ (and my fave Lister lyric about the window cleaning man “with a squeegee in his hand”).  I’d really enjoyed the thoughtful ‘What’s it all About’ and then thump, whack and ‘”Is there anyone with a snareskin in the house?”

Lister and Bassing trade licks

Lister and Bassing trade licks

The second half actually got off to a flyer with one of those songs we’d heard last year – the slow burning Blues  boogie of ‘Straight Talking Woman’ with tasty piano bar Blues from the always excellent Andrea Bassing.  The bulk of this ‘half’ was from the new disc and it had more bite even if it didn’t exactly leap into new life.  Maybe it was the fault of last weeks Crossroads concerts.  All those bands throwing themselves energetically and visually into performances that would be aired nationwide and maybe move them from concert halls  to stadiums in a half hour.  Aynsley Lister was never one to leap about like a lunatic – The description on his CD booklet of music as “A place I get lost in and it’s a very happy place to be” rather tells all.  He smiles when a note goes somewhere he hadn’t expected and feels the music quietly rather than projects it loudly.

He particularly feels the music on ‘Free’  played “For a friend who’s no longer around’ he matter of factly announces.  No grand dramatic introductions, the lyrics have to tell the tale alone.  They go deep, but perhaps it’s that English reserve, or maybe that Aynsley Lister is really rather a shy guy.


There’s an excellently luxurious piano solo from Bassing on ‘You know how I Feel’ after which Lister smilingly calls out to Bassing “That was a bit special – can you do it again tomorrow?”  Not surprisingly given the enforced long break, the shows finish seems far too early, with ‘Purple Rain’ of course and a blistering ‘Tore Down’ with chunky bass from the hardworking Steve Amadeo to make us even more angry that it’s after 10pm and in Bonn that’s ‘hometime’.

My wallet is relieved to see that although Thomas Ruf was at the show he wasn’t selling CD’s from his many excellent RUF Records artists afterwards.  Aynsley Lister is still in those boxes but not on the RUF roster anymoreand  I wonder briefly what Thomas Ruf thinks of the evenings show.

I’m  still not sure what I think myself.  Aynsley is manning the merchandise stand, so once the throng has gone I ask about his guitars: The Probett Les Paul?  “I’ve had several Gibsons and sold them, the Probett is fantastic’” and that bulky curious semi acoustic  that always catches my eye? “No idea myself who made that…”  I ask what he’s planning for his day off tomorrow?  “Just stay in and rest I think”  No doing the tourist thing or having a night on the town? “Na, me? I’m boring!” he smiles, and and I realise that you don’t have to hear someone being loud, or jumping about, to enjoy a live show – sometimes it’s enough just to find someone who ‘gets lost in the music’ and join them there.


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