Live review: Dan Stuart @ The Islington, London

Dan Stuart

Dan Stuart
The Islington, London
28 November 2018
Dan Stuart, voice of long-lost alt-country rockers Green On Red, returned to these shores with an elegantly jaded, world-weary angst as he championed his album ‘The Unfortunate Demise Of Marlowe Billings’.
Touring with guitarist (and album sidekick) Tom Heyman, he’s here joined by Long Ryder Sid Griffin for a show that ends up being almost three hours of biting, rootsy Americana.
Heyman kicks things of with his own set featuring a lot of elegant fingerpicking, much of it on 12-string. From San Francisco, yet someone who studied in Reading, he throws in pub rock references as he plays numbers such as Out West – a figure described by Stuart as “Kris Kristofferson morphed with Stephen Bruton”.
Griffin has made London his home, so much so that he’s wearing a sleeveless pullover, a rarity in roots-rock. Wielding a mandolin (and sometimes his proud possession, a gleaming new Grafton banjo), it’s a finely-crafted set that takes in the likes of Everywhere (a song written with Greg Trooper and covered by Billy Bragg), the Long Ryders’ If I Were A Bramble and You Were A Rose (a duet with wife Rhiannon), all ending in a pumping, stage-striding singalong of The Day The Last Ramone Died, a bluegrass(ish) tribute the New York’s finest.
At this point, Stuart and Heyman arrive on stage, a semi-acoustic power trio of guitars and mandolin. Stuart, charmingly unkempt, a man out of his time, wears a brown velvet jacket, another thing you don’t see so much of in country these days.
The deadpan delivery and bitter humour belies a craftsman’s touch, years spent living in Mexico or the deserts of Arizona inspiring an ethereal out-on-the-edge sound tinged with echoing Mexican motifs.
Much of the set is worked around songs from the new album – the hard rocking Joke’s On Me, the angst of The Day William Holden Died, the chant-like venom of Tucson, the love song turned on its head of Why I Ever Married You and the bleakly beautiful Upon A Father’s Death.
In-between, Stuart jokes and jibes, taking on ex-wife, politics and the world in general, someone who was an angry young man, but realises he’s still angry…but not so young anymore.
Exquisite runs from both Heyman and Griffin create a soundscape of the big skies of America as the drama plays out, a work of art from three blokes in a pub – albeit a posh one.
Nick Dalton

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on print
Share on linkedin


Taylor Guitars

Taylor Expands GT Series

If you recall back in the fall of 2020 Maverick Country covered the release of the first Grand Theater (GT) acoustic guitar a new category


PRS Clip-On Tuner

Things you can never have enough of as a musician: picks, capos, strings and clip on tuners! The greatest feature of the new PRS Clip-On


Fender Guitars goes Camo

Fender just released their new Camo line of accessories. These include new 2” camo straps, electric guitar bags and instrument cables. We tested out the


Gator closet hanging case

Gator cases has been providing top level cases for your guitars, amps and pedals for years! Their latest release is an incredible concept and Maverick


Hercules new Mini Mic stand

During the Pandemic many of us have been forced to create home studios and audio spaces we never had or needed before. Hercules stands has


Roadie III automatic tuner

The new Roadie III smart automatic tuner can tune your 6,7 & 12-string guitars, uke, banjo, mandolin or bass in less than 30 seconds and