To get an idea of what type of personality Andria Simone is – one does not have to look past the name of her band. ‘Those Guys’.
The guys are – Mark Wilson on Bass, Brian Dihari on Sax, George Nikolov on drums and Dave Kirby on guitar. ‘Those Guys’ and Simone delivered a monstrous set of Soul, R&B, Blues and Rock n Roll to The Blues stage at The Montreal International Jazz Festival.
Simone is a cross between Joplin, Nina Simone and Tina Turner. Toss in a group who at times carefully unpurposely copy the sweet sounds of Amy Winehouse’s band The Dap Kings – an entity on the verge of exploding is at hand, sound and sight.
‘Do What I Want’ started the night on the right foot and ‘Proud Mary’ ended it up on the left foot. In between, Simone basked in the rays of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ and Etta James’ ‘Id Rather Go Blind’. The former – something familiar within an arrangement of epic, strange proportions and the latter; true to Etta-esque form.
Simone and ‘Those Guys’ are a force. Winners of many awards and events in Toronto, the band has played in Festivals around the globe on the same bill as Robert Plant and George Benson. “Beautiful Life’, ‘What Would I Do’, ‘You Know I’m No Good’ and ‘For Your Love’ explained why.
Imagine Janis Joplin on speed. Subtract above mentioned speed – adjust the rear view mirrors and lookout for “Those Guys’ carrying Billie Holiday on their backs. Such is the gamet in a varied setlist. Hard on Rock to seductive softness. Edgy Soul to Raspy Blues. Simone and Those Guys protect, nurture and nourish the legacy of the pureness of music. Saxophonist Brian Dihari, the link between space and timeless pleasure. Softening the guitars and Simone’s ravenous vocals. The piece of the puzzle completing the non-puzzling scene.
A taste of the band’s pleasure bolts through in ‘Burn Me’ and ‘ Revealed’.
A twin section of the mesmerizing genres aped and created. The students performing the chops of the masters within original compositions. Tightness prevails in a band which has been around for six years.