Porcelain Hill - The Dorothy Pax, Sheffield, Saturday October 9th, 2021
Setlist: Red Light/Johnny Law/Bossman/Pride n Joy/Sleeping Beauties/Going Home(Song For John) /Got Me Like "Or" Got Like Me/Voodoo Chile/Crazy/Together In The End/Pretty Faces, Ugly Soul/Love Right Now/Who You Foolin/Warm Days Hot Nights/Ride/Cant You See.
It's a balmy October Saturday night in Sheffield. There are several gigs in the area to choose from. I chose this one. I wander down to the Dorothy Pax on the Victoria Quay's dockside to see the unknown (to me) entity of Porcelain Hill. I'm glad I did. They are a Blues-Rock trio, all the way from sunny California U. S. A on a 26 date tour of UK blues bars. This, the 25th date bringing them to Sheffield.
The band consists of Darnell 'Big D' Cole (Guitar/Vocals), Female, powerhouse percussionist, Sonny 'Wildfire' Campos (Drums/Backing Vocals) and funky fingered Bass playing from Jakob 'Special K' Parnham. If you like Jimi Hendrix/Stevie Ray Vaughan, rocking Blues with added Funk 'n' Soul with added hints of Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and even a bit of Pink Floyd, then this the band for you.
The audience is a mixture of young male and female student types and veteran, Blues-Rock fans were into it from the start. Starting with 'Red Light' a very Hendrix style song with strong backing vocals from Sonny that was followed by 'Johnny Law'. A straight ahead 'Chuck Berry' style Boogie, Rock 'n' Roller whilst 'Bossman' has a slight nod to Led Zep"s 'Whole Lotta Love' riff.
It's never a bad move to place SRV's 'Pride 'N' Joy into the list that many bands seem to cover a lot . It's Great stuff too with another highlight in their 1st set being 'Love Right Now' - a tribute to a recently lost friend. a heartfelt ballad with just Darnell on guitar and was very moving indeed.
The second half of the 'Hill night starts with 'Crazy' - a Hendrix inspired rocker that gets the crowd up for it again. What comes next is a surprise, after a pulsing bassline turns into a Pink Floydesque, blues workout along the lines of 'Another Brick In The Wall'. The cut in question goes by the name of 'Together In The End' with more Hendrix style coming along with 'Pretty Faces, Ugly Soul' mixing in a delicious hint of Sabbath in the instrumental workout.
The Rock 'N' Roll Boogie of 'Love You Right Now' sees great harmony vocals from Miss, Compos that has a Hendrix meets Led Zep groove to it of great measures. Now if you fancy some class funk your ears got treated to 'Warm Days Hot Nights' that's very much a hint of 'The Wind Cries Mary'. With The Marshall Tucker Band's 'Cant You See' wrapping things up for the night, that's always a personal fave of mine, they leave the stage and then come and hang out with us all.
All in all, a great entertaining, fun night out. And yes, they are very Hendrix 'n' Stevie Ray Vaughan inspired, but definitely worth seeing if you get the chance. There are 8 albums available on their Bandcamp site, plus loads of footage on YouTube.
You might just find your new favourite rocking blues funk soul band in the form of these Cali-based cats. By the way, to entice you even more than you already are, Porcelain Hill are playing at Hard Rock Hell Blues at Sheffield Academy over the weekend of April 9th & 10th, 2022. Be sure to check 'em out there if not before so, I know I definitely will anyway.
Review By Steve Cooper
Photographs By Mal Whichelow