On the eve of Roald Dahl Day the band with the Roald Dahl name gave a blistering performance on a hot and sweaty night in Guildford.
Americana is the first genre to claim Danny and the Champs, awarded the band best act, album and song at this year's UK American awards. The group could equally be classified as blue-eyed soul, country rock or perhaps the 'rock with pedal steel guitar' category. Then throw in some Springsteen, a touch of Rod Stewart, Graham Parker and a big slice of Eli 'Paperboy' Reed.
Confusing? No. Lack of musical identity? No. Creativity and passion? Certainly.
The whirlwind 17 song set included the tracks Consider Me, Thinking about my Friend and This is not a Love Song. Singer Danny George Wilson's relaxed London patter is that of a cheeky chappie, asking the audience if they had any questions and saying this is the best job in the world. "There's not many jobs where you can have two pints and a Chinese before you go to work!"
The band is a tight six-piece, Danny's lead vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar complemented superbly by electric guitar, drums, bass, piano/Hammond organ and unusually for a British group, a pedal steel guitar player.
A beautiful support set came from Dean Owens, who later guested with the band. The stand-out track of the night, Clear Water, which won the best song award mentioned, is the perfect soul-pop song written on a day off in Oslo.
The good news for fans is that there's a new album being released next year, from which they played Never in a Moment. Having the same style and quality of the What Kind of Love album. If you get a chance to see these guys play, take it, they rock!