Following the recent release of Rise and Shine, Simo kicked off their European tour in London.
The Borderline is an interesting venue, and as JD Simo told me “all the greats have played here”.
Arriving at the venue early I met up with a few Simo friends for a pre-gig drink and a chat, discussing the band and how we came across them. Simo are a three piece blues/psychedelic rock band from Nashville, Tenesee. I heard them last year on the Planet Rock Roadstars tour, out on the road with Aaron Keylock and Federal Charm. The band consists of JD Simo on guitar and vocals, Adam Abbrashoff on drums and Elad Shapiro on bass.
Walking towards the venue a crowd had assembled and were queuing patiently outside. The venue has recently been refurbished, however, I think the air conditioning needs attention, spraying with air freshener, and having to walk through plumes of ‘choking’ air freshener around the bar area, let things down somewhat. A shame considering the ambience the re-fit has created.
Onto the gig, The band came on stage to rapturous applause, and straight away launched into Long May You Sail. Looking around the venue is close to capacity and the majority of the crowd are ardent fans, those that are not are left aghast at the sheer emotion poured into the performance.
Tonight we are treated to a great set that contains much of the new album, as the band are currently touring to promote it, along with favorites from the previous album Let Love Show The Way. JD Simo is constantly complimenting his two fellow musicians Adam Abrashoff, and Elad Shapiro, together they make a formidable unit interlocking and bouncing off each other.
‘Take your coat off’ someone shouts from the audience, JD replies, “I can’t, I’m hiding something”, then asks “if anyone wants to buy a watch?”. The band are humbled by the way they have been received tonight. Both band and audience are clearly enjoying the experience.
The last track on the new album is an incredibly powerful one that is saved for last tonight, I Pray, JD introduces is ‘as having a special meaning to them all’. It starts with a haunting guitar intro, with thought provoking lyrics that work to a point where everything lets rip. It’s a great song to end on as the band really go for it and with an audience hanging on their everyone note, reaches a peak that smashes through the barrier, as it starts to come back down towards the end, we are all left wanting more.
JD teases the audience ‘have we time for one more, would you like one more, would you? So what will they play?
It’s left to a cover version to close the show as an encore, The Joe Cocker classic, With A Little Help From My Friends, tonight we are all friends together. If I say so myself, probably one of the best versions I’ve heard. It went down a storm with the crowd.
There are other dates on this tour left in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Simo are a band that are difficult to review in some ways, I think you need to experience the band, as is the best way with most music, get out and discover it. Simo are definitely one band that don’t disappoint in any way, and are beginning to get noticed by some big names out there, check them out.
Specials thanks must go to the Mascot Label Group for also arranging an interview, which will be published separately.