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‘Last Ever Hebden Blues Festival 2014:
A smart shuffle in the rain to one of the Free Juke Joints where The Hat met up with a familiar face, another hatted star, Captain Barnaby Neale, the exotic, charismatic and (when in character) slightly barking mad front man of The Revelator Band. He told me, tongue firmly in cheek, to make sure I used the word ‘slick’ if I was writing about them.

Well….er… Playing in a bar that was bursting out on to the pavement, this Band gives 200% in performance Fire and Energy. Led by the leaping bouncing Barnaby, they cracked through their set, throwing in guitar changes, harp changes, dancing, waste bin drumming and a quick squeeze box solo or two. The local audience, of course, responded with vigour to ‘Hell-Hull/Hole and Halifax’ and shouted for countless encores.

This band is stuffed to the brim with talent, they really enjoy themselves and they really know how to slickly (geddit?) Beat Up The Blues. Hugely entertaining as always.

See Them. Book Them. Now.’ – bluesandsoulshow.com

‘The singer, who also plays a mean harmonica, pogos and writhes around his mic stand while growling songs with a rasp and a manic grin; where he gets the time to breathe in amongst the jumping, singing and blowing the harp, I have no idea – but he’s a great front man, both from a performance point of view and the way he entertains the audience in between songs. . . . His right hand man on keyboards also plays bongos in a steel dustbin, and his piano playing is frantic and skilled; he really bangs down on those keys hard and fast in places. The rest of the band are solid performers and the whole lot are very tight. . . .Want to see The Revelator Band live? Get there early.’ – thebeatsurrender.co.uk

Stuffed to the brim with talent

‘If, after the Zombie Apocalypse, lost on stormy seas, South of Pandemonium and half way to the edge of the world, you spy a distant cove and find yourself in a saloon run by Blackbeard’s ghost in the hull of a grounded galleon, then expect to see The Revelator Band on stage.

As the wind howled and shook the ancient timbers of our Wakefield watering hole, the Revelators took the stage. Black clad and hatted, their potentially sinister aspect negated by affability and self-deprecating humour, they steered the audience on an exhilarating course for three hours or more. The songs evoke the atmosphere of dark Victoriana, press-gangs and smoke-obscured opium dens; pantomime-pirate blues-rock driven along by a foot-tapping, tankard-bashing beat, colourful lyrics roared in a voice evocative of Tom Waits at his theatrical best.

Frontman ‘Captain’ Barnaby Neale accompanies the songs with larger than life aplomb, capering, stomping and whirling, missing only a swordstick and a parchment map to the location of a mysterious jade monkey. Rictus-grins and rolling eyes animate the face as the hat is given about all the doffing that a piece of headgear might reasonably expect in an evening. The songs are inventive, compelling; anchored by the creative rhythms solidly maintained by Doug ‘Dusty’ Jopling on drums and by some expertly-played bass guitar. The guitar playing is clever, disciplined and perfectly judged. On the piano, Christopher ‘Fingers’ Taylor has overcome the pain of a recent wrist injury to produce a powerful, dominating performance.

Together the songs are more than the sum of their parts, drawing influence from the likes of Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart and fusing them with roots in traditional blues, boogie-woogie and rock and roll. The storytelling aspect of the songs comes across beautifully, reminiscent of tall tales of rum-soaked piracy and yet the feet are still, somehow, firmly on the worn paving slabs of England’s North, in touch with the wry humour of folk that make the best of hard times and find moments of joy and profundity in as little as weak winter sunshine turning wet pavements to silver.

Should the zombie apocalypso be unexpectedly delayed, then keep your eye on the gig listings. If you get the chance to sign up for a tour of duty with the Revelators, then seize it. Trust me, you’ll come away with treasure aplenty.’ – The Vaults

Frontman ‘Captain’ Barnaby Neale

‘The organisers were in no doubt that their Hebden Bridge Festival openers would set the place on fire – whoever stole the launch strap line ‘Let’s Get This Party Started’ was a genius –  and so it proved. The Revelators are an incredible stage band. Terrific entertainers, with the beautifully hatted and totally charismatic Captain Barnaby Neale leading the party. You couldn’t help feeling that the stage was far too small for him as he bounded around almost hitting the ceiling as he leaped up to tell you about his’Ball and Chain’. This cracking tight band connected directly with the audience from the first note, with tales of bad love, murdered lovers and daft romance. After a particularly black number, an aside about being available for children’s parties also went down well! Moving through near-punk and blues and using bongos, slide and harp, the band gave the locally influenced crowd a storming version of ‘Hell, Hull and Halifax’ amid a set that had everyone in the palm of their hand. The Revelator Band played the Festival last year and it is easy to see why they were back. Full of humour and bursting with talent, they set fire to the Blue Horizons stage and The Party was well and truly started.’ – The Blues Man In The Hat – Hebden Bridge Review

At the Upton Blues festival

 ‘A mesmerising tour-de-force of original music and unmissable, energetic stage performance. The Revelator Band have forged the Blues of the future – screaming, stomping, howling, voodoo of the highest order…. a blues revelation indeed.’ – Yorkshire Post

‘With a shock of peroxide white hair and an undertaker’s coat and hat, the frontman ‘Captain’ Barnaby Neale is dodging the plasterwork on the ceiling.  Not that it will last long. With an impressive rasping voice and a punchy bass line the whole place is shaking.’ – Yorkshire Times Arts Review

The Revelator Band delivered a dark, almost feral take on the blues, laced it with with a dose of acidic post-punk attitude and then threw in a side order of Beefheart for a gloriously ramshackle combination of piano, spiky guitar and gruff vocals delivered theatrically by a larger than life swaggering frontman that had to be seen to be truly believed. It might be blues but not as you know it.’ – William Munn, Rhythm and Booze Magazine