Dan Patlansky Brings the Blues to Wellington
Friday night saw the local live music venue, ‘Die Bordienghuis’ in Wellington, full to capacity for the first time ever. The reason for the record audience was the presence of Blues virtuoso, Dan Patlanksy.
Having been living in Wellington for close to 4 years now (and being a passionate lover of music of all types), this was only the second time I’d been so excited to see a live performer play at this venue. But what a performer to be able to see in such a small local ‘dorp’!
I was extremely lucky to have seen Dan play on the opening night of the ‘Up the Creek’ festival, just outside Swellendam, last month. He set the bar incredibly high for the remaining artists playing that weekend and also kick started what turned out to be, one of the best festivals I’ve ever been to.
The man from Gauteng, of Spanish/Judeo descent, admitted that this was his ‘first time in Wellington’ and very proud we were too, to be able to host such a talented performer. The buzz of anticipation was palpable in the room minutes before he was due to play. His supporting band members, Clint Falconer on bass and Andy Maritz on drums, led the way on stage shortly followed by Dan himself. Without a word being spoken, Dan picked up his acoustic guitar, sat down and started to play an entirely instrumental piece. The sound emanating from that guitar was reminiscent of a classical, Spanish style and his fingers were a blur on the fret and strings. Anyone who has seen the film ‘August Rush’, would appreciate the harmonics and beats he played. The audience, including myself, were absolutely entranced.
As he finished that first acoustic rendition, Dan then, still without uttering a word, swapped his acoustic guitar for his electric and thumped out a heavy blues riff, much to the excitement of the watching audience. The voice sounded much older than its owner’s years (Dan is only 30 years of age); a raspy, old style blues sound.
It was only after this song that Dan then interacted with the crowd. What a laid back, chilled guy he seemed, almost self effacing, without a trace of, what would be totally understandable, arrogance. His Fender Stratocaster, ‘The Red’, has its own story too. 50 years old, it was thought to be lost during a tour of New Orleans as hurricane Katrina hit. Then fate stepped in and it was unexpectedly returned to him when a member of the band he was playing with in New Orleans flew to SA a year later and handed it to him as he stepped off the plane.
He’s on the road promoting his fifth album ’20 Stones’. Having been promoting his previous album ‘Move My Soul’ since 2009, he was excited to be able to share his new material including a piece written about his best friend titled ‘Luka’.
The first set was laid back, instrumental in places (reminiscent of performers such as Stevie Ray Vaughn), but still maintaining that blues sound of the ‘Deep South’. There were murmurs of appreciation throughout from the audience. At the break, between sets, I went to the bar physically buzzing with exhilaration.
During the second set, the excitement picked up as Dan demonstrated his prowess with an electric guitar. The techniques he used to make different sounds, were something I’d never come across before in live performance and it was absolutely mind blowing. It made you appreciate the hours and hours of patient practice that must have gone into such a sublime (potentially seminal) performance.
As he went into the final song, and upon hearing the Jimi Hendrix ‘Voodoo Child’ riff, the enthusiasm of the audience hit its climax. Unstrapping his guitar and holding it out horizontally in front of himself, Dan was still making awesome sounds! What a performer! He rightly deserved his standing ovation and we the audience were treated to one final song before he left the stage.
Post performance, this lovely, humble guy, was all too willing to step outside and chat freely to his highly excitable (and possibly over enthusiastic) fans (and yes I do include myself in that group). We had an opportunity to buy the new album which he gladly signed for us. It would be no over statement to say that we had a legend in our midst!
This was an absolute highlight of my time spent in Wellington and I’m hoping there will be many more similar experiences to come as ‘Die Bordienhuis’ finds its feet as Wellington’s best, intimate, live music venue.