Words & Pics : Trudi Knight (http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/)
A showcase event for sure, with the opportunity to play the whole of the latest Simo album to a warm receptive crowd at The Borderline, one of a handful of venues in London that “all the greats have played.” The recent refurbishment to the venue is a welcome one, the stage is higher and the lighting, what a difference it makes. The old look and feel, with the red curtain behind the much lower stage and the reliance on a handful of coloured bulbs often resulted in low quality pictures and the increased likelihood that the shot you always dreamed of would be shrouded in darkness. Thankfully such worries are consigned to history and the new feel of the venue makes it a must go to on any band’s tour schedule.
The band, comprising JD Simo on guitar and vocals, Adam Abbrashoff on drums and Elad Shapiro on bass, came onstage at just after 8.30, playing approximately an hour and 40 minutes of wonderful rock ‘n’ roll (I don’t know where the time went, it felt like not even half that by the time the encore finished).
Here to celebrate the release of Rise & Shine, SIMO’s new album, if you haven’t heard it yet you should. It definitely widens their sound, showing a band definitely growing and beginning to fill their shoes a little more. Rise & Shine opens the band up to new audiences thanks to a much expanded sound, blurring the lines between genres and generations throughout the album’s 11 tracks. SIMO’s previous release, Let Love Show the Way, hooked into the band’s rock & roll influences, added a touch of vintage class that fit perfectly with the current rock scene and then turned it all way up to the max. Rise & Shine doesn’t ignore those influences but instead pushes the band toward new horizons.
A very warm and attentive crowd, it was definitely a show to benefit both the band and the audience equally. That of course resulted in a great mood on stage, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in an they’re clearly very proud of.
Opening with “Long May You Sail” from the last album, the band eased the crowd into familiar waters and then, bravely, but with the sort of confidence usually attributed to bands with many more releases under their belt, they continued by playing the whole of Rise and Shine in sequence. If you’re willing to do that and garner the sort of love and affection that Simo did in The Borderline, then you have the makings of a band that will be filling arenas before too long.
Finishing with classic and everyone’s sing along favourite “With a Little Help From My Friends”, there’s no doubting that Simo are a formidable live unit and absolutely mesmerising to watch – I don’t remember even glancing away from the stage, not even once!