Bluegrass band Reliéf has been on the Czech music scene for quite a while and they've been considered among the best in the genre. Some of their songs were even recorded not only by Czech but also American bluegrass bands.
We still find it a bit surprising that their last gig to date was in fact the launch of their latest album That's Not For You in 2011. Seems like forever. But they got together again, almost 8 years later to the day to perform in Gong theatre in Prague. The band still consists of Tomáš Dvořák (mandolin), Pavel Peroutka (double bass), Zbyněk Bureš (lyrics, banjo, steel guitar, lead vocal) and Jiří Holoubek (guitar) who has always been the one talking to the audience and guiding them through the gig by adding a few funny stories along the way.
This get-together was special in more than just one way. The guitarist himself confessed that he hasn't played the 6-string guitar that much since the band performed all those years ago, the mandolinist became more of a guitarist through the years so a few changes here and there but the band seemed to be enjoying the opportunity to perform again. And so was the audience who welcomed the musicians as their long lost sons. The whole night felt immediately like a journey through time from the first single to the recent times. At the same time it didn't seem that long ago they launched the last album. The lead vocalist still has that strong voice and incredible range, the gospels performed acapella by the band will stop you in your tracks, it nearly doesn't get any better than that. In this particular case we'd highlight There Is a God which transports you to the States right away. There were also three new songs, not original ones but those the band has never played before, including Angie known by The Rolling Stones. The bluegrass take brought something else into the song and this was also one of the cases where the audience could admire the range of the lead vocalist.
Everyone knew it wouldn't be that easy to let the band leave the stage and they ended up playing three encores, the final one being the lively Ready for the times which could be now considered a classic and there were certainly those waiting for this song all night. Reliéf is back in full force, playing like all those years ago. Like nothing has changed.
Photo: Luděk Bouška