It was quite a night at Moonshine Saloon. We arrived near 9pm on Saturday the 13th of Jan at Moonshine Saloon. It was a clear, cool evening and the parking lot was filling fast with folks coming to see one the Gulf Coast's most prolific show band acts, Brandon Giles. When I say show band, that may be an understatement. From the start, I knew we were in for a night of entertainment a tad upscale from the regular fare.
Having played Moonshine saloon many times, it was impressive how John Boi, the resident sound engineer, makes bands sound full, detailed and colorful. No difference here as he outdid himself with the produced mix we were enjoying out front. Moonshine sports a robust sound array that rivals some larger venues and John tweaks it each and every time a band takes the stage. Brandon's sound was clean, clear and totally in your face!
Brandon's unique mix of Jerry Lee-esk rockabilly/boogie style gets the blood moving and makes you want to get up and dance. Although similar in style, Brandon Giles, in my humble opinion, goes far past the former rock and roll icon in his performance. Rock and Roll by Led Zeppelin was the first number I had the pleasure of hearing. The Zep would be most proud of his rendition of this. Brandon sped it up with a personal twist unlike any version of the song I've heard before. Watching Bryan Morris, the bands Grammy nominated drummer, astounded me with his lightning speed and accuracy during this tune! I didn't think you COULD speed that up!
As the night progressed., it got better, and HOTTER as Brandon set his piano a flame during another fast moving, awe inspiring number! I witnessed him play with his feet, between his legs sideways, using the mic stand as a tool while blazing the keys with riffs and runs that blurred the vision! Brandon proved he can pick up virtually anything and use it to make music on the 88's!
Each and every cover he played sounded original and all his own, which is the best way to play cover songs and pay tribute to the artists I believe. Brandon had his "Mojo Workin", asked "What am I living for" and did "A Whole lot of Shaking" throughout this energetic night of raw musical mayhem!
His band, unlike so many playing around the gulf coast, consisted of a dynamite sax man name of Lars Espenson, An outstanding and animated stand up bass player, Dave Caluger and one of the Gulf Coasts most known drummers, Bryan Morris.
Brandon has been around while calling Nashville his home at one point playing Laylas Bluegrass Inn regularly on Broadway in Nashville. The man has actually played with the legendary Les Paul, Mickey Gilley, Kid Rock and can you believe it, Ray Charles? There's absolutely no doubt Brandon Giles is a consummate entertainer that never ceases to satisfy his audiences all over the country. My night at Moonshine will certainly stand out as one of the most memorable evenings of musical entertainment I've had the pleasure of experiencing and THAT is also an understatement!
If you EVER get the chance to see this outstanding showman and his entourage of musicians when he comes to your town, DONT MISS IT! If you do, you'll regret it!