Alan Doyle @ B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, NYC

Live Reviews | By on Jan 14th, 2013

Date: January 11th, 2013
Opening Band: Amy Helm, The Dunwells

Alan Doyle was back in New York City after already playing two Indoor Garden Party shows with Russell Crowe and friends this Fall/Winter. This time, he played at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill with his full band including Kendel Carson, Corey Tetford, Kris Macfarlane, and Shehab Illyas. It was a fun night in Times Square!

It’s been 6 years at least since last being at B.B. Kings in Time Square. This night, there was annoying $10 minimum per person; which I wish I knew since my wife and I had dinner at Eataly beforehand. But got a drink and key lime pie which was good. Other meals that were being brought out looked decent, but the portions looked HUGE! But enough about food.

The opening group was Amy Helm, who I didn’t realize until halfway through the set that she was the late & great Levon Helm’s daughter. Amy was joined by Byron Isaacs, Dan Littleton and Justin Guip. She played some originals, played some covers from The Band (of course), Bob Dylan, and Woody Guthrie. The Woody Guthrie song was probably my favorite from the group. I wasn’t expecting too much when the band came on but definitely wouldn’t mind seeing Amy Helm and her band perform again.

The Dunwells from Leeds, England were up next and I didn’t know they were from England until they started to speak in-between sets. It’s funny how British people sound American when they sing, but when they talk it’s different. Also, here’s another thing I ponder. If a British band plays Americana music, what’s it called then? Britainaca? Anyway, The Dunwells were good and had a few songs I enjoyed a lot. One of those songs is “I Could Be A King.” It’s a really catchy song that I know I’ll be listening to for awhile. The band had a few slower songs than Amy Helm did, but both bands were very good and didn’t have any complaints really.

After enjoying the Key Lime pie and scarfing that down, Alan Doyle hit the stage at 9pm-ish. He started by himself first and played “Where I Belong” and then the full band came on to join him. Alan was sporting a handlebar mustache, which he commented on and said he had a little bit of filming to do on the movie Winter’s Tale. He’s appearing in the movie along with his buddy Russell Crowe and a slew of other famous people.

Alan played a lot from his excellent solo album Boy on Bridge, as well as some Great Big Sea tunes (“Dance, Dance,” Hit The Ground“”). After the first song Alan sang by himself, he then played “Sorry” as well as the rockin’ single “I’ve Seen A Little.” That’s my favorite song from Alan, but “Light The Way” is definitely up there (which they played as well). Out of the slower tunes, I always love “Where The Nightingales Sings.” Throughout the night, I was impressed with Kendel Carson, who has a beautiful singing voice and who can rock the fiddle too. Corey Tetford was great on the guitar as well. Even though I like wouldn’t mind Alan Doyle playing by himself or as a trio, it was still awesome to have the full band performing.
The crowd, for the most part, was subdued because of the tables but there was one guy who felt inclined to voice his feelings throughout the night. Kept screaming out that he loved each band, and Alan said he felt like he needed to receive dollar bills in his pants after that. It was amusing. Alan kept having to hold his tongue for some song explanations because some kids were present. That has happened at GBS shows in the past but it’s always funny to see.

Towards the end of the night, Alan and the band played a perfect cover of John Mellencamp’s “Paper in Fire.” That cover was definitely stood out from the others. “Testify” is another one that the band played really well. I was hoping Russell Crowe would come out as a surprise but perhaps he’s back home now? I love the song “Northern Plains” but I’m not sure it was played that night. I always have a hard time remember the songs that were played.

For the encore, Alan played “Straight To Hell” and something else I’m not positive what it was. The overall concert was fantastic and I was definitely happy to get out of the house past 10pm, since the PATH train was back to 24 hour service after getting pummeled by Hurricane Sandy. It was awesome to finally have seen Alan Doyle and his band perform and looking forward to seeing Great Big Sea’s 20th Anniversary tour in April!

Check out some photos from the show, be sure to visit SkaPunkPhotos.com for all the photos!

The Dunwells

Amy Helm

Alan Doyle

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