Gig Review - Muso
The Green Man Aylesbury - 6 August 2016
We are out in Aylesbury on a Saturday night, headed to see a band that had been recommended to us. As we walk across the town square we are stopped in our tracks by some of the sweetest sounds we've heard in a long time. We peer into the doorway of The Green Man, and inside we see two blokes playing guitar, and it sounds incredibly beautiful. We decide to pop in for a few minutes and a quick listen, drawn in by this sweet music.
The Green Man is a narrow little pub that's packed out with music lovers, everyone straining to see the band play. To the right as we walk in past the band is another area with tables that are all filled and also surrounded with a few groups of standing patrons. There's clearly a buzz going on, and soon we find out why. The band playing is a guitar-duo called Muso, and they are fully on it, laying down some superb blues. We elbow our way to the bar and settle in, mesmerised along with the fellow music lovers already there as we tune in to what I can only describe as sensational playing. Let me make something clear at this point, I very seldom call anything sensational, but this band is just that. Forget exceptional, these blokes are sensational!
At the break I grab a moment with the singer, Del, and I am surprised to discover that they are a father and son duo, with his lad Ash playing the blinding lead guitar licks. He tells me they have been playing gigs together since 2010, although they made their debut in 2008 when Ash was old enough to play in a pub. I tell him that I think they are easily the best live band I have seen outside Wembley Stadium, and he shuffles his feet and looks slightly embarrassed. He doesn't agree, saying that it's probably the vibe in the pub that's got me going. A very humble musician, quietly sidestepping the fact that they are responsible for creating the vibe we are all getting lost in.
They crack on with their next set, a combination of blues and rock numbers delivered with authority and passion. The covers they play sound like their own, improving on the originals and giving them a new life. Song after song is reeled off with consummate ease, the audience mesmerised as the music pours over them in waves of sonic beauty. Ash handles the guitar like a seasoned pro, playing licks you never knew existed. His fret board mastery is pure genius, and in front of him a group of people sit staring, transfixed as their eyes struggle to keep up with the speed of his fingers. Del's vocals soar in after another hot guitar solo, his voice sounding both rock 'n roll and angelic all at once. His vocals are unique, dark and pure. You wonder what those "singers" on those crap TV shows think they're doing when you hear this unbelievable voice rolling off the ceiling. These blokes are instantly addictive.
After playing some amazing tunes, including originals, they announce that the next song is a Deep Purple number called When a Blind Man Cries. Now I am a huge Purple fan, and I brace myself, unsure if this duo, as good as they are, can actually pull off a Deep Purple song that most full bands would struggle to do justice to. I needn't have worried. They don't simply do it justice, they play it BETTER than any version I have ever heard. How is this possible? I stand there, mouth wide open as Muso send the song into overdrive while a female fan plays wild air guitar in front of them. This band is on fire, and the audience faithfully rocks along with them.
It's all going on at this gig. A hardcore Muso fan proposes to his girlfriend, and thankfully she accepts. He tells me that Muso's the best band he's ever seen, and that Ash's guitar playing has inspired him so much that he's bought a guitar and is learning to play. He makes it clear that Muso is definitely playing at their wedding. There's a bloke trying desperately to hold up the bar next to me, and he also says he wants Muso to play at their wedding next year. This band has made a huge impact on this audience, no surprise really. Then there's a comedy moment as a woman, intoxicated by the liquid refreshments and the music, desperately tries to snog the singer while they're belting out Sex on Fire, and she's stubborn, almost performing fellatio on the microphone while her boyfriend tries in vain to pull her back into the crowd as the band plays on like nothings happening. Pure rock 'n roll.
The rest of the night follows the same pattern, great tune after great tune played with a brilliance defined by a very unique sound. The crowd stays with them, totally hooked and rocking away. What makes it even more impressive that the pub remains full is that there is absolutely nothing on tap, and they are only serving spirits and lukewarm bottled beers. Nobody seems to care, the music is all that matters. These blokes are so cool, and it's clear that the men want to be like them while the women want to be with them.
We head home in silence, the music still swirling around in our heads, not wanting to speak in case we erase the memory of one of the most beautiful gigs we'd ever been to. That sound of theirs, it is just amazing, unique, brilliant and memorable. I think about my negatively influenced attitude towards local live music, and feel fortunate to have been able to share an evening with the sensational Muso. I wonder if there are more outstanding yet undiscovered bands like them doing the rounds. And to think that we stumbled upon them completely by accident. Bizarre but beautiful.
Muso The Band