Proud Mary - The Mill (Preston) - 26.4.04

The testerone level in this venue is unavoidable. The student quotient is present and correct, but it's the beer swilling macho element who dominate. The odd female fans have show up, but it's blatantly obvious that Proud Mary's fan base is predominantly male. Don't be put off by the fact that Noel Gallagher signed the band for his Sour Mash label as their isn't any trace of recycled Beatles hits or tired Status Quo chord structures. Proud Mary have shades of rock n roll, but they play the blues and quite superbly as well. The six piece band now has ex Smith and rent a bassist nomad Andy Rourke on stage tonight, but as far as i'm aware he's not joined the band on a permanent basis.

Vocalist Greg Griffin has an unruly mop of black curly hair and looks mediterranean with a broody intense look but what a voice. Imagine the folkiness of Dylan mixed with that raspyfeel of Springsteen and you're half way there. "Mexico" see Greg in a tamborine frenzy while Paul Newsome's guitar enchants. "Don't It Look" has a feel of The Stereopphonics when they were good, mixing blues, rock and just a touch of folk. "Just 4 U" slows things down, but this just illustrates how confident Proud mary are, excelling in everything they do. Proud Mary's new material is great and really shows the band maturing.

For the encore Proud Mary bring on the band they've been touring with, The Burn, for "Salt Of The Earth" and you can see the sheer joy on their faces as they jam together as one single unit. The band loved playing as much as their fans enjoyed watching it, but their hour long set went by far too quickly.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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