BYWATER CALL The Waterloo, Blackpool 12th October 2023

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Words and photographs – Graeme Wright

Additional photography – Nicola Warren

Anybody who knows me will be aware that I veer towards the heavier side of Rock music. This year however, many of the bands I’ve been asked to review have leaned more towards the Bluesy side of things and I’ve developed a real taste for this kind of music recently, which culminated in The Damn Truth (also from Canada) shooting straight to the top of my list for the Gig Of The Year awards. As soon as the Bywater Call tour was announced I was urged by friends to go out and see them and I’m so glad I heeded that call.

The band make a low-key entrance to the Waterloo stage and takes up their positions. Even though they are a seven-piece outfit, somehow it doesn’t look too crowded out there and we are soon into the set opener ‘Bring It Back’ from the 2022 album ‘Remain’. It’s immediately clear that these guys are incredibly talented musicians. As always the sound is great in this venue, but there is no sign of clutter musically even though there is a lot happening on the stage, which is a testament to the quality of this band. ‘Ties That Bind’ is up next and it’s already clear that singer Meghan Parnell has a voice to die for. Sweet and tender vocals make way for power and steel at the drop of a hat and the emotion in her voice creates a real connection with this crowd early on in the proceedings.

Dave Barnes is a guitarist of the highest quality and the rest of the band are no slouches either, with the interplay on the new song ‘Sweet Maria’ being almost mesmeric. The crowd are singing along to this one and it’s just a masterclass of Blues musicianship the way it is performed tonight. The cover of ‘Love The One You With’ goes down a storm with the audience and is so intricate and intimate that this was a huge highlight of the evening for me and it was a privilege to be here to hear it tonight. ‘Bring Me Down’ from the band’s debut album slows things down and is an emotional masterpiece which is beautifully sung and played, while ‘Talking Backwards’ bounces along and wouldn’t have been out of place on The Blues Brothers movie soundtrack.

‘Falls Away’ has proven to be the band’s most popular song on the streaming platforms and it’s a confident and slightly heavier track than most on display tonight, with soaring powerful vocals which have me reeling in admiration at the sheer empathy and vocal quality of this singer. ’Silver Lining’ is the type of song that you’d expect to hear in a smokey downtown gin joint, while ‘After All’ is new to me and keeps the whole place grooving. It’s worth noting the fact that the entire band seem to be having the time of their lives and the interactions between saxophonist Julian Nalli and the maestro of the trumpet, Stephen Dyte are priceless. ’Arizona’ was the opening track from the first album and we are quite a way into the set now. For a band with only two full albums behind them, the song quality is amazingly high and this Jazz/Blues fusion is no exception.

‘As If’ is a new song and bodes well for the band’s next album, while the cover version of The Band’s ‘The Weight’ has long been a live favourite for Bywater Call and everyone in here is singing and dancing at this stage. An extended version of ‘Left Behind’ closes out the set and sees the band at the height of their powers. It’s pitch-perfect, complex and catchy with a huge break and chorus and again goes down a storm with all those who are present.

This was a show for the ages and is a highlight of the year for me. It’s the first time the full band have been over here on tour and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Brilliant songs performed by amazing musicians who left every ounce of energy and sweat on the stage tonight. I’d like to thank them for this show and I’m still buzzing about what I’ve seen as I write this review. My highest recommendation and I urge you to catch them live if you can.


Meghan Parnell – Vocals

Dave Barnes – Lead Guitar

Mike Meusel – Bass

Bruce McCarthy – Drums

John Kervin- Keys

Stephen Dyte – Trumpet

Julian Nalli – Tenor Sax


  1. Bring It Back
  2. Ties That Bind
  3. Sweet Maria
  4. Love The One Your With
  5. Bring Me Down
  6. Talking Backwards
  7. Sign Of Peace
  8. Falls Away
  9. Silver Lining
  10. After All
  11. Arizona
  12. For All We Know
  13. As If
  14. The Weight
  15. Left Behind

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