Compellingly sweet blues from a modern Animal
Two Hundred and Ten - Danny Handley (digital release)
"My demon's always been a chancer/ Get up and don't get caught"
Danny Handley is the guitarist and compelling singer in The Animals and Friends. They're on tour around Australia at the moment. If you get even a quarter of a chance, go see them. They're great fun, and right now, what with half the country either still burning or about to burn, I'd say that (aside from grieving) the one thing which will lift your spirits is music, and The Animals & Chums do that.
Danny Handley is a huge frontman. He's been gifted with an immaculate, easy-to-conjure voice, a relaxed and engaging personality, the confiding air of the practised showman. Oh, the bastard has one of those effortless talents on the guitar, too. Not that I'm jealous (oh, no).
His style is a bit more modern than the original Animals, with distinct shades of sweet blues - and I should explain that I usually detest this style. In person, in Danny Handley's hands, these blues are absolutely beautiful.
And, of course, being the singer AND the guitarist, does he have Lead Singer Dyndrome? Or Lead Guitarist Dyndrome? Well, it's really, really weird, but he doesn't. What's he say about being in the band?
“I'm really, really lucky to get this gig. There are thousands of blokes like me in the UK, and I've got this gig with The Animals.”
That shows a big perspective, because he's right. There are shoals of talented folks out there. And here's Danny...
You'll respond instantly to the style: like certain styles of punk, or electronica, you'll either love it or hate it. Danny's first EP shows us more about himself, and the world he finds himself in (women figure strongly, for the simple reason that Danny is a good-looking lad and ... but enough). There'd be nothing odd about these songs turning up on commercial radio, they'd fit right in with the better choices that radio makes.
Have you ever actually listened to commercial radio? You know, when they emphasise that there's a “mix”, and what you really hear is ... pretty much a series of specified songs on rotation, with a few “wild cards” thrown in. Ever hear that? When a classic Beatles or Stones song comes thrusting in amongst that bland majority, it's a bit like “oh, this is what real rock'n'roll is about”.
Now, I'm not about to compare Danny to the Beatles or the Stones. These songs aren't “the wild card” but as I say, like the better songs played amongst the bland majority. You know, the ones you hum along to. The ones you enjoy.
“Borrow You”, for example, with the glorious, earworm organ (presumably borrowed from a nearby chapel for the day), well, you could imagine Joe Cocker or (even, hell, why not?) C.W. Stoneking borrowing (in turn) any of the songs here. Nothing wrong with that.
But I reckon Danny Handley is just as enjoyable as those bigger, better-known names. Catch him live (dates below) in Australia or grab his EP from any digital platform.
The Animals and Friends
4 - Centro CBD, Wollongong, NSW
6 - The Factory Theatre, Sydney
7 - The Entrance Leagues Club, Gosford, NSW
8 - The Basement, Canberra, ACT
10 - Lizotte's Restaurant, Lambton, NSW
12 - Hotel Brunswick, Brunswick Heads, NSW
13 -Kedron-Wavell Services Club, Chermside, QLD
14 - Twin Towns, Gold Coast, QLD