It was another dark and wet night in Nottingham as we trooped rather hurriedly up to the top of the old Mansfield Road into the Forest Tavern. Once you're in there, walk to the left and through the small door and you'll find yourself in a medium-sized room with a small stage. They call the room The Maze though there is no maze here and there never has been.

What it always has had - in my experience - is dim lighting. They have done the place up a little since I came last but the lighting never changes which makes it a photographer's nightmare. Anyhow, the first band didn't take too long to grace the stage: The Buffalo Skinners from Sheffield played us just a bit more than a half hour set and it was well worthy of a mention here.

Their music stems from a shared passion for songwriting and singing in harmony. Kieran Thorpe plays Fender Rhodes keyboard, James Nicholls the violin, Peter Seccombe the guitar, Miles Stapleton the drums and Robbie Thompson bass. The band draw their influence from 60s rock 'n' roll, folk, blues and whatever else they’ve been listening to recently.

Not long after Buffalo Skinners, The Deslondes from New Orleans crammed all five of themselves onto the stage. With the release of their self-titled debut and their second album, 'Hurry Home', The Deslondes have toured the world and drawn critical acclaim for their inventive take on New Orleans country and R'n'B.

And it's the R'n'B side that draws us here, along with a very good helping of others they have enchanted too. Just to give you a quick insight, Hurry Home is a sonic shift from the country-folk of their debut into a psychedelic, electrified soul sound, with a stronger emphasis on organ and electric guitar.

The five members, Sam Doores, Riley Downing, Dan Cutler, John James Tourville and Cameron Snyder met up last winter at their record label’s studio and rehearsal space in Athens, Georgia, and recorded everything in five days. It is the release of this album that brings them to Nottingham for the first time and they seem to be enjoying themselves.

Having already visited places including Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and Leeds they mention quite a few times how they like 'Just In Love', 'Muddy Water' and 'Better Be Lonely', which are all reminiscent of a hot life in New Orleans.

Indeed, had the gig been in the summer The Maze would have been even more homely with its lack of air-conditioning and sticky beer-bathed floors, ideal for classic R'n'B, music made for dancing such as 'Sad Song' and 'Hurricane Shakedown'.

The five-piece made easy work of the style they have mastered and the highlight along with the Anglo-American banter was a brilliant rendition of 'Déjà Vu And A Blue Moon', which apparently is an ode to those who've spent a lot of time on the road. As they said from the stage with a wry smile: "maybe they always will".


Photos by Dave Goodin
www.davegoodwinimages.com














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