at "Das Bett" -  Frankfurt, Germany
22 November 2016

Concert and CD Review by Dave Willey


Hundred Seventy Split – Live In Concert

November 22, 2016

Venue – Das Bett – Frankfurt, Germany

8:00 – 10:30 – Tuesday Evening



Das Bett I soon learned, is a real favorite hot spot for the residents in the Frankfurt region and beyond. A real eclectic listing of bands play here, with Hundred Seventy Split now honored to be joining their ranks. As an example, Carl Palmer will be appearing here April 6, 2017. I'll be back for a return visit. From what I saw while there, music is offered on a very regular basis, it's alive music Mecca to be sure. While talking with the owner/ manager/chief bottle washer – he told me the club has been open since 2009, and has earned the respect of musicians and fans alike. His club holds 400 people and Hundred Seventy Split are hereto shake up a perfectly quiet autumn, while also shaking the timbers to their very foundations. In the end, the audience will appear spellbound in just a few short  hours, as is the band's lofty reputation.



They're younger, smarter, faster and less reckless than us old-timers were in our prime. Now, here they are forming the tine at the club door, over an hour early, an I'm an hour early, always priding myself on being the first one in and the last to leave. Later on, they also stole the Hundred Seventy Split poster right out of the official advertising frame in the main lobby. (I laugh my ass off as the band is autographing it for two guys and one girl. I strike up a short conversation with the four men standing there, now working on their third large bottle of beer, getting primed for the show. I'M a stranger, speaking English while slightly interrupting their personal conversation as well. I wanted nothing important, just to say hello is all. Awhile latter three left to get more beer and I made my move to talk with the one left behind. He spoke English, opened right up and we discussed music right off the bat. He likes rock “n” roll, but when his father took him to his first concert he was hooked just like the rest of us, when like turned into love of the music and the musicians who made it. He's now 37 years old and modern music has no place in his music collection. He's a late 1960's early 1970's man through and through … T. Rex, Slade, Grand Funk Railroad, Humble Pie, Ten Years After, Chicago's first album … and now HSS. He's seen Ten Years After with Joe Gooch many times, and is now back again to enjoy Hundred Seventy Split for the third time. His friends return from their beer run, they also speak excellent English and a quick bond develops between us. All four of them are Ten Years After – Joe Gooch/Leo Lyons and now Damon Sawyer fans.






·The Game (from their new CD)

·I Grew Up On Muddy Waters (from their new CD)

·50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain (from Cricklewood Green – 1970 Classic)

·Gravedigger (from their new CD)

·Going Home (from their “The World Won't Stop” CD)

·Good Morning Little School Girl – from SSSssshhh 1969 Classic)

·You Can't Drink It (from their new CD)

·Love Like A Man (Cricklewood Green – 1970 Classic) --- Band Break – End First Set

·Looking For A Sign (from their new album) --- Start Second Set

·Pork Pie Hat (from Hundred Seventy Split – First Train Cover)

·Coming Back Around (from their new CD)

·The Devil To Pay – (from Hundred Seventy Split – First Train Cover)

·Gonna Dance On Your Tombstone (from Hundred Seventy Split – First Train Cover)

·Tennessee Plates (played live at different concerts)

·The Smoke (from their “The World Won't Stop” CD)

·King of the Blues

·I'm Going Home (Woodstock 1969)

·Working on the Road (classic 1970 – Cricklewood Green)



As Leo, Joe and Damon entered the stage, they all seemed in good spirits, well rested and very relaxed. They're happy to be on the road again and it shows on their faces and in their body language. The audience welcomed them as if they were returning crusaders returning to the castle. Not long before this moment, our good friend arrived for the first number, Peter and Theo were to come together but Theo remained at home. Peter entered and it's been so damn long since we last saw each other in person, it almost brought tears to my eyes. Peter's a great friend and we're like brothers when we meet. Peter's also a great photographer and that's another reason why I'm happy he's here tonight. His photos, along with this concert review on our website, (Brigitte an Dave) will be a welcomed addition to our concert page section, that's forever growing longer and larger every year we're very proud to say.

Peter and I crossed paths a few times going from stage left to right as we also stopped to watch a the band and talk with other fans there. The band sounded great from the first note to the last and the audience was with them all the way. Some came for the nostalgia of the music and the good memories it created years ago, others came to hear the new music making brand new memories

One of the highlights of the evening was Leo playing a new addition to his instrument reserve … a large stand up bass /cello that stands a good head taller than Leo himself. I named it “Big Bertha”. Leo says it's fold-able, and he bought it in the States.... One thing for sure, he plays this cello like any other bass in his vast collection. Years ago he mentioned that he wanted to add this to the line up, and now it's become a reality. Way to go Leo.



I have known guitarist Joe Gooch since 2003. I have watched him perform, to learn, grow and mature over the last 13 years. We have become friends during this time and I'm proud to know him. On a personal note. I'm here to tell you that Joe at this moment in his career is in a rare position, meant only for the very few. He is in point of fact every great guitarist that you care to name. Inside him is the very best of everyone of them in their prime. Be it Zappa, Hendrix, Clapton, Green, Kossoff, Page, Bucannon, Townsend. Joe exhibits the same kind of talent, artistic creativity, passion, vision and curiosity needed to be one of the exalted ones in music history. His partnership with Ten Years After is now legendary, performances mind-blowing, hist personality gentlemanly honest and sincere. Credit be given where it's due, to Joe's school friend Tom Lyons who introduced Joe to his Woodstock famous father and bass player Leo Lyons. Leo sent Ric Lee to interview Joe in person, and that part of Joe's history is now completed and secure as we all know.

 For you fans Ten Years After and now Hundred Seventy Split you are well versed in which I speak. My conversation with  you already confirm this fact.

 Upon listening to Hundred Seventy Split's trilogy of CD releases:

 The World Won't Stop

Hundred Seventy Split



The genius of Leo Lyons continues his work from Ten Years After and Kick right into Hundred Seventy Split. Combined with Joe Gooch and Damon Sawyer have able to do what few others have been able to accomplish in their musical history. To continually grab the elusive brass ring, time and time again. Leo, the elder statesman of rock”n”roll has had this pleasure on many different levels and occasions. It's with the bands new CD release of “Tracks” and the other two previous releases brings something into crystal clear focus for me

The three Hundred Seventy Split releases (listed above) are the equivalent of Ten Years After three releases of SSSssshhh (1969) – Cricklewood Green (1970) and Watt (1970). This after much thought and consideration would I even attempt to entertain such a statement, but I firmly stand behind it, because I believe it to be the undeniable truth.



Layers of sounds, subtle undertones, powerful flexing bass lines. Wailing guitars, funky guitar or blues driven guitar work. Thoughtful intense lyrics, most of which seem to be of a personal autobiographical nature. Drumming that's both powerful, melodic and sympathetic. This combination makes Hundred Seventy Split almost impossible to beat on any level. A power trio of experience, unbridled talent with a never-ending passion for the music. Perfectionist all. Music that rings loud and true, technically and emotionally in every song. Music made the way ti's meant to be played. With an on stage presence and performance that you'll never forget.





After the show Peter went backstage to visit with the band, while I went outside to listen to the audience reaction and talk with many of them. Peter had to leave we said our good-bye's and I went to see the band. We haven't seen each other since Melle-Buer. Leo looked good and healthy as always, Joe looked a little older and more mature than a year or two ago, and Damon is just Damon always friendly, consistent in his nature, and always good for a chat and a laugh. I asked Joe how he was feeling these days, he looked a little tired but after the CD recording sessions and now on tour again, who could blame him in the least. Joe's happy with the new CD he told me. Damon was coming in and out for the time I was there, he and I had a chance to talk a few times during the evening and I always enjoy our time together.

Leo and I had most ground to cover in the short amount of time we had together. I wanted

to know about the visa problems for the band, when they may expect to get to Amercia and how Leo's family was doing and especially Tom whom I miss seeing. We talked about the American election results and the shape of things to come in the States. We didn't talk about the new CD only because I just bought my copy this evening. Although we did discuss his days with Ten Years After, people he knows and his newly acquired cello bass for the stage performance. Seems to me that Leo knows everybody who's anybody in the music world and beyond. We also discussed the band playing a concert in England that I read about on his website, he confirmed this and would like to play the more often as do Joe and Damon.

A few days before I got to see them in Frankfurt, they returned to Melle-Buer where Brigitte and Anita greeted them in person, along with a full house of loyal HSS fans. Brigitte also bought their new CD and a band photo. She had it autographed while there. She told me that is the bands effort to date – to which I also agree, and that Joe is incredible on that guitar. What makes their new CD so spectacular I was yet to discover for myself (explained above).

Now's the perfect time for Hundred Seventy Split to get the respect and recognition that they all deserve. They hit the number one spot on the Blues Chart last month, and have been changing position depending on which day you check the listing, but always in the top ten to upper five places.

As for the visa situation for the band, it was explained to me very simply. When the tour dates are finally booked and confirmed, and then the visa request sent in – and the answer returned, time has run out for any kind of serious tour. Frustrating at the very least. Blame it on global bureaucracy bullshit.



Our thanks to the band and the venues for their hospitality. I see catching up with the band this time around  in November as a wonderful Thanksgiving present, and a great way to end 2016 – the following night they had their concert filmed for DVD and recorded for a double CD, to be released in March of 2017. I hope you enjoyed this concert and CD review. See the band live in concert, show them your support, and say hello from us.







1. It's Coming Back Around – 4:47

The band kicks off their brand new CD with a strong riff laden power rocker, in order to get things rolling right out of the old round house station. It's intricate change ups and super smooth, relaxed vocals are found riding on Leo's fat, quick and slick bass lines. They're

explosive and yet subtle enough for you to catch the genius hard at play, while not ever realising he's working his bloody arse off.

Joe's guitar works mimics Leo's fluid yet driving bass groove that he's laid down for Joe to water ski through. Be they in the wake or out of the wake – the grove flexes / constricts while devouring every vibration laid down with a systematic precision that will blow you away. If you are unable to hear it, you'll feel it move you. Complicated layers of sounds running simultaneously throughout the music itself. Professional musicians listening to this new CD will catch the underlying network involved. As if this wasn't enough stimulation to suit your wish for instant gratification, then hang on. Damon's drumming is full of power stroke pounding, with thunderous bombastic bass drum rhythms that may cause heart palpitations to occur spontaneously. These guys are good !!!

I co-named this the Boomerang Song.


2. The Game – 5:13

This has a funky / rocking beat and is intended to let you catch your breath, after the adrenaline soaked first number. It provides lyrics with real substance, common sense and food for thought. There's so many great influences going at the same time, that makes it extremely interesting. Let your mind roll on. Nice surprise, when Joe sings the word fool in a higher range, outside his comfort zone, pulled it off beautifully – excellent.


3. If You Made It To The Top – 4:45

This is one beautiful ballad about the struggle to make it, the battle to keep from losing it, and how to deal with the reality of the return to earth it this should happen to you. How to survive making it – what a concept – be careful what you wish for they say. This is a very sad melody, of good times and good people in days gone by. The only solution is keep moving, always forward, don't look back and close any painful doors behind you. Advice I heard – if you're going to travel on eternity road, make sure that you're riding on a road in life that you are able to walk, on the other side. Beatles (George Harrison) influenced, excellent. Dave note: I think about Leo during this song ...he's made it to the top and lived to tell the tale. Now over the years he's also seen many of his contemporaries pass on to the other side while he's still here doing what he does best, loving his life, family, friends and making music.


4. I Grew Up On Muddy Waters – 4:16

Somehow the theme of this CD is starting to sound a bit autobiographical to me, so much the better don't you think ? Joe is in such control on this number, showing the mastery needed over his guitar. While his vocals remain passionate and consistent, every emotion rings through the band, in a happy mutual effort. Joe's lead breaks are all fire and brimstone, clean in his phrasing and completely balanced, refined and sensitive  in the bands delivery and reverence.


5. Lonely – 4:52

Robert Johnson immediately comes to mind, homage to the master of the blues. His ghost lives on in all of us and this song is cousin to Crossroads in spirit … Cross-roader Blues updated perhaps. “I just talk to myself” - “I get used to myself” - “This road's long and lonely” and “When I get where I'm heading, the whole thing starts again”.

Great lyrics and message … hat's off to you wordsmith !


6. Gravedigger – 7:14

“If you don't love what you're doing, you might as well be dead” the lyrics say. “If you're gonna be a grave digger, hold your head up hight” … “Be the best the world has known”. Just an aside, and if I remember correctly, Rod Stewart once worked as a grave digger before he became the famous rock and pop singer he is today. I also have a friend called “Digger” yes you guessed it - “Gravedigger” and proud of it. He offers families comfort in their time of grief. Jazzy Jam music – unexpected, with rock / blues over-tones flowing over it – brilliant !


7. Looking For A Sign – 5:21

This is a Joe Satriani guitar influenced track, but it's all Hundred Seventy Split in its delivery. Joe excels not only here, but in every song on this collection. Joe and the band are very sympathetic playing middle eastern influence during the solo. Reminds one of Blue Jay Way 1967.


8. She's Got The Mojo – 3:28

This number is a fast clip rocker that'll pull you along in high spirits with it's fantastic hook and a ZZ Top familiar chomp-chomp boogie sound. She might have the mojo working for her, but so do the men of Hundred Seventy Split on this tune, and on this entire CD. There's constant magic going on herein every song. I could listen to an entire album side of this kind of music.


9. Tail Light's – 5:32

This is a Nashville country rock song. Great band sound and wonderful guitar work. If I'm not mistaken I believe I've heard this song a while back performed live in concert. This is the first time released on an HSS CD. A great song, and a wonderful change up. Then two last songs to round out this brilliantly written and performed new music. Reflective lyrics and complimented by excellent Hammond Organ work for added contrast from Billy Livsey.


10. The Final Curtain – 4:13

Just what the title implies, before it's too late, say I love you to those you do. Tie up all your loose ends, be ready for the unexpected ending to this life, come out clean. Reflective, as is most of the messages  on this CD-retrospective. The music reminds me of the pace of everyday life, fast and demanding – unrelenting. Drums and Bass pounding while Joe's guitar screams of our individual stress and pressure's everyday. Get your house in order – for you know not the hour in which I shall come.


11. You Can't Drink It – 5:35

A bouncy riff with a funky beat. Leo and Damon provide the power groove hook in which Joe is able to walk across while reaching for the stratosphere, untamed, unrestricted and floating through space. I like the Billy Squire sound. The song sounds so good, but ends way too soon to please me … in fact the entire CD ends too soon to suit me. That my friends make this one hell of a great / perfect piece of art.


In Conclusion

With the release of this CD, it has already found its way into the “Top Ten of the Blues chart”. Finding it at times in the number one position, or in the top five depending on the day you check. Very impressive and about time the band started getting the respect and recognition that they so rightly deserve. While I love everything that they've produced thus far, this stands out as my favourite entire package and has so far continued to play uninterrupted in my CD-player since I bought it at their concert on November 22, 2016 ...

And will remain there for months to come. I will also buy one for my car and buy many more to hand out as Christmas presents this year.

My heartfelt thank to Leo, Joe and Damon – from my heart to yours !

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !!!



Thank You Dave :)


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