Aynsley ListerEver since I first heard Aynsley Lister’s latest album “Home”, I’ve been looking forward to seeing him play live; last Thursday was my chance as he supported blues legend Joe Louis Walker at The Garage in Islington.  The majority of the audience had come to see Joe Louis Walker but were very appreciative, giving their support to a talented and charismatic support act.

Aynsley Lister live is quite an experience.  He’s totally at ease and confident centre-stage without ever appearing arrogant, but he has been doing this since he was barely a teenager and playing guitar since he was eight years old.  Bear with me here if you read my review of “Home”, but Anysley Lister is the real deal; he plays superbly across a wide dynamic range, he has a voice which is the perfect balance of power and control and he writes songs which step out of the standard blues/rock themes; how does a Gene Hunt tribute song grab you?

The set opened with “Big Sleep” and “Early Morning Dew”, from the 2009 album “Equilibrium”, before slipping in to a batch of songs from “Home” which effortlessly demonstrate the quality and variety of Aynsley’s playing, singing and writing.  The funky, clipped groove of “Inside Out” eases the audience out of the older material and into a couple of songs with a harder edge, starting with the menacing opening guitar riff of the “Life on Mars”-inspired “Hyde 2612”.

Next up is the more traditional blues barrel-house boogie of “Sugar” featuring André Bassing’s piano alongside some old-school blues guitar followed by the beautiful “Home”.  The final track from the album is another rocker, “Possession” which takes us almost to the end of the set.  The finale is a breathtaking version of the Prince classic “Purple Rain” which builds from a subtle and quiet intro to a storming climax to bring the set to a close.

The headliner, Joe Louis Walker, played to a hugely partisan audience and delivered a set which featured blues, funk, rock and gospel with stylistic nods to B.B. King and Albert Collins, among many others.  The high point of the set came when Joe Louis, in time-honoured blues tradition, invited Aynsley back on stage to jam for two songs.  The two guitarists alternated on lead and rhythm for a while before an extended session of trading licks which brought smiles to the faces of the two players, the band and the audience.  Great while it lasted but, unfortunately, it meant that the set peaked too early, apart from Joe Louis’s solo gospel song, his first encore.

So, back to Aynsley Lister.  He was even better than I expected; he writes, sings and plays beautifully live and, even playing a support set, he’s so engaging that he wins over the audience from the outset.  You really should have a listen to “Home” for starters and then make the effort to get out and see him live.  His tour dates to the end of 2013 are:


05/09/13     WIMBORNE                 Tivoli Theatre           www.tivoliwimborne.co.uk

06/09/13     PUTNEY                       Half Moon                www.halfmoon.co.uk

13/09/13     MILTON KEYNES       Stables Theatre        www.stables.org

14/09/13     SOUTHAMPTON        The Brook                www.the-brook.com

15/09/13     DARLINGTON             R&B Festival

20/09/13     BLAKENEY                  Harbour Rooms       www.blakeneyharbourroom.co.uk

21/09/13     IMMINGHAM               Golf Club

26/09/13     FARNHAM                   The Maltings            www.boogaloopromotions.com

27/09/13     SUTTON                      Boom Boom Club    www.feenstra.co.uk


07/11/13       CHISLEHURST         Beaverwood Club  www.feenstra.co.uk

08/11/13       KENDAL                     Bootleggers           www.bootleggersbar.com

12/11/13       CHESTER                  Telfords                 www.telfordswarehousechester.com

16/11/13       PRESTON                  53 Degrees            www.53degrees.net

22/11/13       YORK                        The Duchess          www.theduchessyork.co.uk

23/11/13       REETH                       Buck Hotel             www.buckhotel.co.uk

29/11/13       NEWCASTLE            The Cluny               www.thecluny.com


01/12/13       EDINBURGH            The Caves              www.thecavesedinburgh.co.uk

05/12/13       FARNHAM                The Maltings           www.boogaloopromotions.co.uk

06/12/13       DERBY                      The Flowerpot        www.rawpromo.co.uk


I may even see you there.