When Rivers Meet @Newcastle The Cluny, May 6 2022

A few hundred yards from The Cluny, the Ouse meets the Tyne.

When Rivers Meet couldn’t have picked a better spot for their dazzling Newcastle debut.

Sold out and bouncing, those who plumped for this frenzied affair over Robert Cray’s City Hall show came away convinced they’d made the better choice.

Like buses, the Toon waits all year for a blazing blues gig and two come along at once.

But When Rivers Meet are an addictive, unmissable band on the rise.

A duo delivering on more than a decade of devilish potential.

And a partnership that’s finally found its rock calling.

The winners of Planet Rock’s Best Album award freely admit they tried it all before settling on their intoxicating bland of soulful blues.

But the sensational Saving Grace — the follow-up to 2020 Rushonrock Record Of The Week We Fly Free — proves When Rivers Meet made the wisest of choices.

This uplifting, joyous and perfectly pitched set was awash with optimism.

Former barmaid Grace Bond is a glass half full kinda woman with a beaming smile and a booming voice.

Husband Aaron is a master of the slide guitar and the perfect foil — on and off stage — for his engaging other half.

Instinctive and indomitable, a flawless set left an indelible imprint on those present.

And a magical night was only spoilt by the constant conversation on The Cluny’s upper level.

The frankly boorish banter reached its banal peak somewhere around Bury My Body.

You pay your money and take your choices…but who, in their right mind, would choose to chat at a time When Rivers Meet are in full flow?

Just bizarre.

Nevertheless, Grace and Aaron gave as good as they got before Roger Inniss inadvertently stole the show with a bass lesson par excellence.

One of the UK’s must-see rhythm kings has played alongside Chaka Khan, Snowy White, Joanne Shaw-Taylor, Errol Brown and more during a stellar career as a touring musician.

And When Rivers Meet were right to blow their budget on a true master of the blues craft.

We Fly Free, He’ll Drive You Crazy and Can’t Fight This Feeling (not the REO Speedwagon classic) showcased Grace and Aaron at their compelling best.

By the time the final notes of Never Coming Home drifted into the Tyneside night, an utterly spellbound Cluny crowd wished When Rivers Meet never would.

But after this sparkling Newcastle debut, the multi award-winning duo will be back.

Grace’s final — and widest — grin of the night will Testify to that. 

Those who bagged a spot early were treated to a typically robust turn from the ever-reliable Troy Redfern.

A permanent fixture on the UK’s burgeoning live scene, rock and roll rebellion courses through the singer songwriter’s veins.

And yet again Redfern whipped the masses into a frenzy with his Hendrix-esque fretwork and Slash-styled cool.

It’s little wonder the workaholic troubadour is plastered across posters the length and breadth of Britain as a go-to support with a growing reputation.

Troy’s the boy. But how about some headline shows soon?

Images courtesy of Adam Kennedy