Playing to a sold out crowd, this gentle, sweet and unassuming 26-year-old off stage is a driving presence onstage. Big things are expected of this Isle of Man rocker, and with rocking riffage he opened with a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ain’t No Grave.” Things heated up something fierce on “Coming Up for Air,” from his Peter Frampton-produced breakthrough – a deceptively simple song with searing and slow-building soul and passion.
The band featured the funky foundation of the Grainger Brothers (Gary on bass and Greg on drums). They are the real deal, 30-year music vets so in lock step, it would be surprising if they were not brothers. Completing the band for this special two-set show was Soulive’s Neal Evans on sultry, silky, scintillating Hammond B3 organ.
The whole set was tight and filled with mojo-inducing musicianship. They played the stuffing out of his hit, “Tear Down the Walls,” with catchy, fast, strong lyrics and singing, replete with sharp soloing from all four musicians, Knowles spat piercing pyrotechnics into the welcoming audience, bringing them on their feet at song’s end, fairly rare for the often sedate Iridium audience.
The set closed out with new rocker, “Work a Little Harder,” which highlighted Knowles’ singular brand of muscular riffs coupled with cool and soulful pipes. This kid can do it all, and he and his band showed New York City their artistic fire and flair throughout this epic jam.
Davy Knowles will be back. Count on it, and don’t miss him.
– Hart Hooton