Gerry McAvoy's Band of Friends A celebration of Rory Gallagher's Music
Winners of The European Blues Awards 2013
Not just the notes – but the sound, energy and feel of Rory Gallagher, delivered by people who helped define it… 2015 proved to be another eventful and highly successful year for Band of Friends. To acknowledge spending most of the year on the road, the Band released their live album “Live ‘n’ Kickin” ; whilst Ted McKenna was awarded “Musician od the year” at the European Blues Awards, and Gerry McAvoy received a Civic Award from Belfast City Council, for his services to the town and the music industry - it was a very prestigious affair!
2016 is looking no quieter for the band with shows booked throughout Europe, and recording is well underway for their 2nd album of original material, which they hope to release in the Summer.
As Winners of European Blues Awards “Band Of The Year” in 2013, and boasting rave reviews from every show, it’s clear to see why the band continues to be so popular.
In the era of tribute acts who deliver note-perfect renditions of their heroes' catalogues, the Band Of Friends is something different. They can do the notes played by electric blues icon Rory Gallagher. But they can also do the sound, energy and feel – because the band includes people who helped define those essential elements.
When the Irish guitarist-vocalist passed away in 1995 he left behind an eleven-album catalogue of inspired albums, and the memory of unforgettably energetic concerts.
Bassist Gerry McAvoy [Nine Below Zero, Champion Jack Dupree, Deep Joy] appeared on every one of those albums. Drummer Ted McKenna [Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Greg Lake, Gary Moore, Ian Gillan, Michael Shenker Group] powered those live shows from 1977 until 1981 and appeared on Rory's acclaimed Photo-Finish, Top Priority and Stage Struck albums.
The old friends have teamed up with Dutch guitarist and vocalist Marcel Scherpenzeel [Marcel Scherpenzeel Band, Wolfpin], who grew up with his bandmates' music.
If they say he's the nearest thing you'll get to Rory – and that's exactly what they do say – you'd better believe them!
Ted recalls: "In 2010 Gerry told me he'd played with Marcel at a tribute show and thought he was the closest thing to Rory you'd ever hear. We got together for a play in Marcel's dad's blues club in Amsterdam. The impact was instant."
Gerry says: "Rory will always be close to my heart, of course. Playing tribute shows was one thing – when I heard Marcel I knew he had it all. Close your eyes and it's there."
Marcel adds: "You have to approach something like this with respect and honour. I already respected Gerry and Ted, and it's an honour to play Rory's music with them."
"Really has the atmosphere of a Rory concert"– Lust For Life
"This is not a tribute band but a group of its own.
The trio work wonders." – Rock & Folk
"Sparks fly from the first note. The Band of Friends
is pure cracker." – Bluesfocus
The pleasure flies in your face – one cannot get enough" - Voor
A sturdy pot of blues-rock – they impressed, and not only me" Bluesbreaker"Emotional highlight... a fantastic interpretation" - RockBlogBlues
"Ted's drumming excellent... Gerry's matchless game on bass... Marcel is worth his weight in gold – guitar and singing straight" from the heart" - Scilla
"Although the band as a whole is flawless, it really is Marcel who deserves most plaudits. He is quite stunning in the Rory role" RTM"In the music industry it's hard to find something this well done. Priceless." - Miusyk.com
"A triumph, an amazing concert – the public is going to listen" - Oscar Beorlegui"
"Emulating Rory's sound has been a bugbear but Marcel has nailed it. The audience hang on every note and the band give their all" - AnnularMedia
"Gerry and Ted were no backing musicians. They were part of an integral unit that allowed the maestro to present his prodigious talent. Plenty of body language was what I remember. Little nods here, smiles there and just enough ad lib without over milking the solo breaks. The tradition continues with Marcel." - Noel Buckley
"Like no other power trio, they celebrate the amiable guitar hero's passion on stage" - The Blues Alone