In support of his newly-released solo debut ‘How Long’, Ariel stopped by London to perform a sell-out show at The Borderline, as part of his current UK tour. After seeing the show later that night, we can confirm that this really was a demonstration of something quite special. Never before have three musicians – Ariel, his drummer and bassist – sounded quite as huge, driving, articulate and sensitive as this. An Americana-infused, slide guitar-laden album, ‘How Long’ spares nothing in showcasing Ariel’s remarkable talent as a songwriter. Pushing harmonic boundaries in a skilfully accessible way, with his tasteful turnarounds and chord progressions, the songs are beautifully crafted, powerful and sentimental.
From the moment the shop opened, we made sure to set up a little something for Ariel to plug into: a beautiful, vintage ’64 Fender Tremolux amplifier, with its original 2x10” speaker cab, and a Crazy Tube Circuits White Whale spring reverb. Kindly, Ariel played us three songs – all of which were filmed and uploaded onto the Regent Sounds YouTube channel – aptly starting with the first track on his album: ‘Try’, and moving through his songs ‘How Long’ and ‘Things That I’ve Said’.
Within minutes, we all formed a circle around Ariel, and the shop was reduced to silence, as soon as he hit the first note. Supporting himself fully with just his guitar, Ariel’s playing fills the room, powerfully. Driving chord progressions, intermingled with tasty lead licks, never – for a minute – toe the line of sounding sparse, as the thick tones that resonate from Ariel’s heavily-strung, drop-tuned electric provide a lavish harmonic bed for his sultry vocals. Sporting his signature Rock Slide, his slinky, vocal phrasing had us all captivated. If he managed to sound this complete as a soloist, you can imagine the way he sounded later that same night, at The Borderline, as part of a trio setup.
The event we held at Regent Sounds, was organised in association with Renuion Blues UK – a gig-bag company endorsing many popular artists in the guitar world. Ariel could be seen toting his RBX model, which is a double-compartment case, allowing you to travel easily with two guitars on your back. Regent Sounds is proud to be the only London stockist of the Reunion Blues product line, and we would like to extend our thanks to Damian for working with us to make this event a great success.
Fast forward to later that evening, and The Borderline was heaving with many of Ariel’s supporters, fans, music and guitar enthusiasts, who all turned up to witness a slice of the magic. Throughout, Ariel powerfully stormed in with the most authoritative guitar tone, provided by a trio of combos: a Two-Rock Custom Reverb Signature, a Victory V40 and a Two-Rock Traditional Clean; sat unassumingly side-by-side, stage right. A Schmidt Array board could be seen at his feet, loaded with pedals including The Duellist overdrive, a Strymon Flint tremolo, and The Gig-Rig’s G2 switcher, keeping the signal clean, and transparent. When in a full band context, and in combination with Ariel’s mastery of his instrument, this setup provided a tone that effortlessly commanded the room. A truly superb show, that took the audience on an emotional rollercoaster, Ariel brought raw, gritty, rock grind with tracks such as ‘Get You Back’, before mellowing into the sensitive, 3-piece vocal harmony-laden lines of ‘Better Late Than Never’. This was truly an exceptional show, with the evening poignantly ending on a cover of the late John Martyn’s ‘Angeline’.
From all of us here at Regent Sounds, we would like to thank Ariel for taking the time visit, perform and hang out with us on Denmark Street. Just as legends of the past once stood in Regent Sounds and made history, we hope we can revive the legacy of this historical place, and make our shop a social hub for some of this generation’s greatest musicians. Earlier today, we caught a little snap of Ariel sporting his new Regent Sounds t-shirt, too. Thank you, Ariel!
Watch this space for more in-store events like this from us, in the very near future. We also hope you are enjoying our new weekly blog posts. Until next week...