ERIC GALES Returning for October/November 2017 Tour
What an opportunity to hear one of the finest guitarists once again as Eric returns to the UK and Ireland for tour October and November 2018
Bluesdoodles was delighted to have heard Eric delight the packed Robin 2 ” when he played earlier this year – “There is definitely nothing Middle of The Road or standard about any of the music played by Eric and the band tonight. This is excitement, hope and joy distilled into a night that was hot and will be a highlight of 2017 that is for sure.”Read More….
Following his long-awaited first UK solo tour in May and an incredible guest slot with Supersonic Blues Machine at this year’s Ramblin’ Man Fair, world-renowned Blues guitarist Eric Gales will be returning to the UK and Ireland this October/November.
TUES 24 OCT – Whelans, Dublin – TICKETS
WED 25 OCT – Dolans Warehouse, Limerick – TICKETS
THUR 26 OCT – Cyprus Ave, Cork – TICKETS
FRI 27 OCT – Picturedrome, Holmfirth – TICKETS
SUN 29 OCT – Mr Kyps, Bournemouth – TICKETS
TUE 31 OCT – Boom, Boom Club, Sutton – TICKETS
THU 02 NOV – Robin 2, Bilston – TICKETS
“Scorching” Classic Rock “One of the greatest guitarists on the planet” Fireworks “Rocket-fuelled” Guitarist “If you’re looking for the blues album of 2017. This is going to be very hard to beat” Total Guitar 5/5 “The injection of danger and unpredicability that the blues-rock scene desperately needs…some of his best songs yet” Guitar & Bass 8/10 “The more you listen to it the more the brilliance of Eric Gales becomes apparent” Powerplay
Bluesdoodles loves the album one you return to – “No doubting that Eric Gales is back producing the best music yet. Blues guitar with attitude, lyrics with a heartfelt understanding of the myriad emotions this album lays bare for the listener to explore and understand.” Read More …...
High Temperature Tour and Album with JW Jones bringing double joy from the blues power that is JW Jones: New Album High Temperature released Friday 20th October 2017 plus touring the UK throughout November and December 2017.
“His evolution as a musician and vocalist shine through on this record like never before. Real songs, real playing by real people. JW is the real deal.” – Chuck Leavell (The Rolling Stones)
JW Jones, the award-winning Canadian blues rock guitarist and singer-songwriter, will release his new album “High Temperature” on Solid Blues Records via Proper Distribution in the UK and Europe
“High Temperature”, produced by Nashville-based Colin Linden, recently won “Best Self-Released CD” at the 2017 ‘International Blues Challenge’ (via Blues Foundation in Memphis), and was also named the ‘Hot Shot Debut’ on the Billboard Top 10.
“High Temperature” is the follow-up to JW’s JUNO Award nominated 2014 album “BelmontBoulevard”, which was nominated for a Maple Blues Award, and held the #1 position on Canadian roots radio stations for 13 weeks.
Bluesdoodles saw JW Jones live last year. Wow what a show, thoroughly recommended Do Not Miss Him This Time. “Swansea heard and felt the sinews of blues emotional magic weave around the venue tonight. Come back soon JW Jones” – Read what we said HERE.
Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and Mates
Steelhouse family came together on a Welsh Mountain united by rain, sun and MUD! The glue binding us was live music and the super glue the brilliance of Bernie Marsden not once, not twice but all three days on the stage entertaining. We had dragon magic gracing the festival that you climb up slowly to the top driving up a rough track to the top of a Welsh Mountain above Aberbeeg. The weather may at times be trying, we all know the welcome and cwtch from the Steelhouse volunteers will be full of warmth. So many memories for the music memory box, friends, brilliant bands Planet Rock DJsand the array of stalls to kept us fed and watered, the endless cuppa’s from Motley Brew hot and refreshing the gallons of Trooper consumed and the selection of cocktails. The festival is for everyone young and old, family friendly with a play area, camping, glamping and merchandise. We may only be in each other’s company for a few days but the friendships forged last forever.
Bluesdoodles, Liz Aiken could not make Friday night, rain, parking and other issues conspired against her. Nothing though was going to deter us from getting to the festival on Saturday that started warm and sunny with the weather for now set fair. We missed Free Friday, but those who got here in time were entertained withRevival, the awesome Hand of Dimes joined by Bernie Marsden already a festival favourite and Trucker Diablo.
The two bands that open the show were local bands, Saturday, Florence Black & Texas Flood on the final day all setting the bar high rocking the show for the first notes always a challenging slot and they got our attention. Then the new line-up from Tequila Mockingbyrd who flew the flag for women and rock Steelhouse know how to weave the line-up reflecting styles of rock and peoples different tastes.
So many thoughts whirl around as I edit the photographs, the excitement that the festival has left spilling over to Monday, continue to be motivated as the work continues listening to the music that fuelled the weekend, Steelhouse 2017 delivered the best line-up ever and it was a triumph. Music for all tastes across rock. There are always bands and for everyone the list will vary for us at Bluesdoodles it was Rival Sons, Last In Line, Monster Truck, Stone Broken, Broken Witt Rebels, Jared James Nichols, Wayward Sons, Saxon and the hero of the hour Bernie Marsden across the festival Friday, Saturday and the unplanned return on Sunday. The list is a mix of styles, ages and experience the common link was quality, performances.
Stone Broken bought a vitality, energy and love of performance to the stage, heating up the atmosphere. The set was played out with every note played and song sung confirming the meteoric rise from a self-funded album to the band they are today. The journey has just begun they will soon be headliners wherever they play, why the crowds will demand it the Broken Army will not be silenced. With a follow-up album to debut All In Time tantilisingly close live performance will keep us entertained until the release date early 2018. Every fan is waiting in anticipation which will just build and build, with every performance and radio play. Stone Broken play the music rock fans want to hear. Every time they play live they grow in stature tighter, more confident. Everyone’s day is brightened by Robyn’s infectious smile and drumming. Rich leading from the front energised with vocals that demand to be listened to. Chris & Kieran, guitar and bass creating the sting in the tail with the strings ensuring there is nothing broken about Stone Broken. They nailed it at Steelhouse 2017.
Monster Truck, were monstrously good, the guitar sound is loud and we are pulled into the hot atmosphere they create. It was so hot it was as if the rain vapourised before it hit the ground! Awesome sums up the performance lifting the crowd’s mood into the stratosphere. The set included all the numbers you want to hear live from Sittin’ Heavy as we heard staggering vocals, hard rhythm and licks that curl around the stage and cascade across the field in melodic delights. There will be other bands but for now it doesn’t get better than this performance or will I eat my words?
Having never heard Last in Line live, this was a band I was looking forward to having listened to Heavy Crown, loud and often since reviewing early in 2016. The band named after Dio’s second album carried the torch shining high and burning bright with a set that was full of Dio classics. The two orginal members of Dio’s band Vinny Appice on Drums and guitarist Vivian Campbell are joined by vocalist Andrew Freeman, Phil Soussan on Bass an keys from Erik Norlander. They delivered adrenalin fuelled rock that pounded the mud and the sound that was Dio. Andrew’s vocals were reminiscent of Ronnie James Dio. The rain did not wash away the sound and atmosphere of a festival that was now rocking as the skies darkened on the Saturday.
Sunday dawned bright and clear with blues skies and warm sunshine we all knew the music was going to be hot. The Sunday came alive as Broken Witt Rebels may have opened with Low from Georgia Pines but the music took us to new highs. Danny Core’s vocals are outstanding they pierce with a depth of emotion. The feel of the guitar sound tinged with blue, heated by southern rock from James Tranters lead guitar. The sound builds with tambourine and rhythm added by Danny and a rhythm section that burns the groove as Luke Davis and James Dudley join forces. This is a young band who are growing in stature as with every performance the layers of polish are burnished, the beat tightens and the sound gets bigger, bolder as the Broken Witt Rebels blow the mist away through Georgia Pines, what a number. They were quickly followed by the guitar-led blues-rocking power trio of Jared James Nichols. The talent of the guitarist who is making a name for himself as he flashes his prowess with the six-strings, this set was the most guitar-dominated set of the weekend. Another young performer who never fails to deliver, always improving developing the Nichols tone and sound. Building on his album and the last EP Highway Man.
A new band, Wayward Sons that has every one talking. Why? It is a Toby Jepson band this, the bands third gig and first festival appearance, did not disappoint. The opening was intriguing as we entered the Twilight Zone before the opening line of Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas and then the band stepped on stage. With a debut album out in August, Ghosts Of Yet To Come the sound we heard was grittier this is a rocky sound that sets quivers of an earthquake erupting through the audience on top of a mountain. As to be expected Toby’s vocal shone through the rain drops With the Little Angels – Young Gods – song dedicated to Alan Nimmo, who to many people’s disappointment was not swirling his kilt with King King on a mountain. The whole Steelhouse family wish Alan a speedy recovery.
Rival Sons, well worth the wait in the mud and rain they delivered with music that sears the heart and soul. Jay Buchanan’s voice is always stunning as he strode down the stage in rolled down wellies he captivated – what a band. The only slide guitar of the weekend cascading notes swirled across the mountain courtesy of the slide of Scott Holiday. The rhythm and structure added a depth of tone thanks to David Beste and Michael Miley. There is nothing hollow in the bones of the rock they deliver every track has something to say with sweet licks, righteous riffs and lyrics that draw you deep into the heart of the music Rival Sons are simply electric.
Closing the festival with lights, pyrotechnics and a metal eagle Saxon left their mark on the mountain once again. A band that the fans wanted to see many so excited seeing a band that was one of the first bands they had seen back at Steelhouse once again. The rain did not deter Biff as he strode down the runway kneeling on a towel and rising again hands aloft uniting with the fans as he sang in the rain. The festival went wild as Biff sung to them Battering Ram soared out across the mountain quickly joined by many classics Princess Of The Night & 747 Strangers In The Night. By now there were no strangers in the crowd, we were united by music, mud and Steelhouse friendship.
Cometh the hour cometh the man. Steelhouse 2017 it had to be the one and only Bernie Marsden. Scheduled to play with Hand of Dimes of Friday and the acoustic set on Saturday that was a delight. With King King having to pull out there was a yawning gap. Hand of Dimes stepped in with Bernie on electric guitar that was exciting but this was the Steelhouse Band with two special Planet Rock guests. Hand of Dimes always popular and they know how to please as they add keys and harmonica to Nev’s special brand of rock. Nev was back on stage with Bernie Marsden joining after a couple of Hand of Dimes numbers to massive cheers of Bernie, Bernie!! Hand of Dimes has a new album out Raise so we heard Guilty and Pin-Stripped Arrogance, what a band. Then we had the change as Ian Danter took control of the drums and Darren Redick on Bass for a couple of numbers this is what festival magic is all about memories never to be repeated. The ‘cover’ of Whitesnake classic Here I Go Again was superb vocals from Neville McDonald took the roof of if there was one! Bottom of Form
The heroic Steelhouse Band created a great atmosphere what fun a pleasure for everyone listening to Hand of Dimes and friends over the Bernie weekend.
Then if I could only pick a band it would be a toss-up between Rival Sons and Broken Witt Rebels both were superb the vocals stunning, out I have made the rule only one band so it will be Rival sons, why? Soul made me cry as I was absorbed by the music an even stopped photographing during Electric Man.
Steelhouse 2017 raised the bar in terms of music and fun we are counting down the days until Steelhouse 2018. Thanks once again to the band of volunteers and Mikey and Max who make sure we all have a wonderful Mountain top festival.
Steelhouse 2018 the clock is ticking ! show your interest and keep to-date on Facebook Event
Following Joe Bonamassa’s successful tour including two sold out concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall in April 2017, the celebrated blues-rock guitarist and singer-songwriter, is pleased to announce that he will return to the UK in March 2018 to perform seven concerts.
Dates include Cardiff Motorpoint Arena (March 9), Manchester Arena (March 10), Carlisle Sands Centre (March 11), Aberdeen GE Oil & Gas Centre (March 13), Gateshead Sage (March 14), Birmingham GentingArena (March 16) and Brighton Centre (March 17).
The March 2018 UK tour will feature Joe alongside a hand-picked group of world-class musicians playing material from Blues of Desperation, plus classic Bonamassa fan favourites.
Bluesdoodles loved the album “This is the first time Bluesdoodles has given Joe Bonamassa a 10 this is an inspired album that hit my blues-spot. This is a new approach more muted deeper tones, the result a powerful statement an album with direction and purpose.” READ what we said in Full HERE
“I just wish we were standing as this was not music to sit to, as the show drew to the last three numbers Joe, simply signed for the crowded auditorium to stand. We did and then the music became even more scintillating and the energy rose to another level.” – Bluesdoodles
“An excellent set, featuring mostly self-penned compositions, but some covers thrown in including Led Zep’s Boogie with Stu and rock classic Hummingbird, made for a fantastic evening’s entertainment.” – Sheffield Star
“His soloing was, as you would expect,
immaculate and his vocals right on the money.” – Music-News.com
“Bonamassa has tobe heard and seen to be believed.”
– Bristol Post
“The best guitarist on the planet at the very top of his game.” – Liverpool Echo
“Bonamassa’s recorded output has been nothing short of extraordinary – there doesn’t seem to be anything he can’t handle … Hugely impressive.” – Acoustic Magazine
BD: firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat about participating in the 4th UK Blues Challenge, Blues, your music and more.
LVR: It’s our pleasure – we’re thrilled to have been put forward for the competition!
BD: 2017, sees the fourth UK British Blues Challenge. This year the UKBlues Federation are “Bringing The Blues back to The cavern 60 years on..” Tell us what it means to LaVendore Rogue to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?
LVR: We’ve been to hell and back a few times over the years, and playing in the states has to be a dream of any UK musician, so it’s an honour to be considered for the UK British Blues Challenge – we’ve been working hard over the last few years, and it’s great to see its been recognised by the UK Blues Federation.
BD: What are the Blues to LaVendore Rogue? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, United States and elsewhere in the world?
LVR: A lot of the biggest British Bands in history started off playing Blues but took it somewhere else. Just look at The Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin. Nowadays, it seems a lot of UK acts lean towards the heavier Blues Rock side of things, which is perhaps reflective of the US artists who took their influence from the 60’s Blues Boom. Whereas in Mainland Europe there is real wide variety of artists such as the Dawn Brothers or Daniel Norgren who are doing something different, but still with its roots in the blues. Obviously the US is where it all began and it’s good to see that despite the influx of “Blues Rock”, they are still producing artists who take their influences from early American Music, people like Blind Boy Paxton or the Carolina Chocolate Drops and even Mud Morganfield.
BD: Your latest album is A Night In The North, LaVendore Rogue live in a Blues club; tell us a bit about your album and the reaction your interpretation of blues is received by audiences?
LVR: We recorded the album at Sedgefield Rock & Blues Club in January. We didn’t plan on doing so, until 10 minutes before show time, and we’re all really pleased with the result. Joel mixed and mastered the album, and we feel it’s the best thing we’ve done to date. Certainly the most honest.
We were keen to include a cross-section of everything that’s influenced us and that we’ve done, so the album goes from pre-war Blues (“Oh Death” by Charley Patton) to the 60’s British Blues Boom (“Get Off Of My Cloud”, by The Rolling Stones) and includes several Hokie Joint songs too (“Chocolate Cake”, “The Way It Goes…Sometimes”). Oh and obviously there’s some LaVendore Rogue material in there as well. To keep things fresh, there’s also a couple of new songs on the album too.
When we first started as LaVendore Rogue, the reception was mixed, although people generally either love us or hate us. However we’ve worked hard to put together a set that will appeal to lots of people, including ourselves. Songs such as “Chocolate Cake” and “Oh Death” always seem to receive a fantastic reaction, so we’re obviously doing something right when it comes to honouring The Blues.
In our opinion, a lot of the British Blues Scene is leaning more towards rock music more than Blues and songwriting has been replaced with too many guitar solos. Although is good to see a broad spectrum of the blues taking part in the UK challenge.
However our focus is on songwriting and using a song as a way to tell story. At the end of the day, 99% of people go home from a gig singing a chorus, not a guitar solo.
BD: What do you feel The UKBlues Federation can bring to the UK Blues what would you like the Federation to be doing for Blues artists on the circuit in Britain today?
LVR: It’s very difficult for a band to gain much profile without a fairly large budget. We feel there are a lot of great undiscovered bands on the British Blues scene that aren’t getting the attention they deserve for one reason or another. In fact, many are far more interesting that some of the bands that are at the top of the ladder. As artists in our thirties we hope to playing for another thirty and perhaps the Blues Federation could play a pivotal role in bringing the blues to a younger generation, perhaps through schools workshops or through making connections in Universities.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
LVR: That’s a tough one…we all have very different tastes in music, in many different genres, so the result could be somewhat catastrophic!
July Arrives with Live Music King King & Bad Touch
The anticipation had been growing day by day as June faded fueled by the release of (She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’ from the forthcoming King King album Exile & Grace. Having not seen the band we love to follow hear live, six months had past since we welcomed Alan Nimmo, Wayne Proctor, Lindsey Coulson and Bob Fridzema on stage. Before that moment Bad Touch had the task of warming an audience already hot with excitement.
Bad Touch filled the stage with charisma and the driving force of their Southern Rock, Rock n’ Roll energy and panache. With Robert Glendinning back on lead guitar after a short sabbatical, adding his vibe to the quintet, and with the vivacious head of hair on vocals, Stevie Westwood; rhythm guitarist Daniel Seekings and a rhythm section drummer George Drewry & Michael Bailey on Bass they were on top form. This was a set where they may have sung 99% but the energy was off the richter scale they wanted Bristol to have fun tonight. The slide guitar work from Glendinning cemented his role in the band and the interaction with Daniel Seekings had the guitars singing in a disorderly, melodic party of Rock n Roll mayhem. Truth Be Told, the apt title of their latest album, the set was short, no time for small talk as they squeezed in every ounce of energy into the songs, we have heard on Planet Rock and Outlaw, every band should have a cowboy song. The cheers were huge as Bob Fridzema joined in the last night party atmosphere at the Fleece to warm up before the main event. Bad Touch, turn every note into golden southern rock nuggets absolutely modern as they build on retro power; they are back on the road again very soon.
A short break ensued allowing friends to catch up at The Fleece, and then King King stepped on stage the warmth flowed from the band and the crowded venue. King King were back in Bristol and on fine form. We wanted to hear old favourites and be part of the lucky few to hear live the first single to have been released from Exile & Grace; (She Don’t) Gimme No Loving. Tonight they did not disappoint they gave us so much happiness, feeling of joy King King have the knack of pleasing the fans, leave us wanting more always something from the back catalogue we wished they had played. Tonight they were happy to be on stage combined with a raw energy they wanted to play above the expectations of the fans and connect to those hearing the band the first time.
Alan’s smile was broad and genuine, not a showman’s face; with his red kilt , guitar in hand including a blue plaster over a cut finger he made every one welcome to Saturday night at The Fleece.
The set comprised nine numbers plus Let Love In the encore we have come to expect and gives the audience the opportunity to be the community choir led by the kilted wonder that is Alan Nimmo. The mutual joy was definitely shared on stage and in the audience
With a mix of numbers from the live and studio albums saw the welcomed return of Heavy Load. Originally a Free number given the Nimmo treatment his guitar work was as ever magical and the slight slip of the stings replicated a rare Free outtake! Alan chortled at the end of the song. Interspersed were crowd pleasers that have become the heart of the bands DNA You Stopped The Rain and Long History of Love. The opportunity for the band to get funky and the audience to dance, despite being curtailed by space clap our hands on All Your Life. What fun with Bob’s hands as ever throughout the evening caressing the Hammond making it sing in harmony with Alan’s vocals that were on top form tonight. Into the mix the muscle of the rhythm from bassist Lindsay whose strings gave a rich depth of funkiness and Wayne’s drumming hitting out a vibe that showered The Fleece with percussive force and energy.
Then there was the first opportunity to hear (She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’. The cheers were rapturous before a note was played as Alan thanked everyone for buying the single so it was No.1 on UK Blues Chart. The number is a perfect single, introducing us to the album Exile & Grace out later this year. The hooks are sharp, the lyric memorable and beat infectious. Rockier that many of their other numbers, the sound invokes sound of British Rock ‘n Roll with a definite hint of Thunder in the air. The single is 100% King King and will become a firm favourite as it is an ear worm of ticklish delight.
Having reviewed King King for many years two things always strike me after the show. Firstly; you are left euphoric the blues rock they deliver pleases the crowd, they always entertain. Secondly, King King connect to your soul, with a feeling of friendship, belonging to a fellowship cemented by this is why LIVE MUSIC has a special power every time.
King King set List
More Than I Can Take (Standing In The Shadows)
Wait On Time (Live)
Rush Hour (Reaching For The Light)
You Stopped The Rain (Reaching For The Light)
Long History of Love (Standing In The Shadows)
Waking Up (Reaching For The Light)
Heavy Load (Standing In The Shadows)
Gimme No Lovin’ (Exile & Grace)
All Your Life (Take My Hand)
Stranger To Love (Reaching For The Light)
The set from Erja at HRH Blues in Sheffield this Easter was a highlight of the festival “High class set from the renowned queen of the blues slide guitar. In the set is Black Ocean for me a highlight and favourite on the album now a live favourite as prog meets blues under the charms and skills of Erja. We joined her on the rocking Chair, sang along with Stolen hearts. Then the trained steamed up the hill with her interpretation of Tina Turner’s Steamy windows. This was blues that sparkled as Erja smiled, played and won our hearts.”
Tonight, the blues was never going to be sitting in the Middle of The Road the music was going to fizz with energy and the crowded venue was ready to welcome Eric Gales and his band to their first visit to the U.K. and the West Midlands. As we waited for the venue to open, the difference tonight was every bag was searched a solemn reminder that going to a live music event is now overshadowed by the horrific bombing in Manchester arena just over a week ago. As many commented, this was good to see.
Before the main act of the night the Tom Walker Trioset the musical Barometer to high raising the temperature with a stylish and far too short set. With a new E.P. Into Space joining, as Tom said their other older CD, there was a good selection of the blues sound the band creates. This was Blues-Rock punctuated by funky rhythms from Deano on Bass; combined with artful drumming of Nate Barr creating the perfect musical landscape for Tom Walker to build with his guitar and vocals. The blues were at times swampy with great slide guitar as we Cross The Border with the trio off the new E.P. Blues is about timing and feel and this is a trio that has it in triplicate. Closing with a re-working of John Henry; from deep in American Folklore and early music covered by many and Tom made it his own tonight. Only, complaint I have, we wanted the impossible to hear more of Tom Walker Trio whilst at the same time we were impatient for the main act.
Short break, time to catch with friends and connect with new ones as people had traveled far what an opportunity to hear Eric Gales and his band tonight. With a fanfare and smile Eric strode on to the stage with his signature guitar held aloft. Starting the show with Silence for Manchester he commented that this was his first visit to the U.K. and genuinely overwhelmed by the crowds turning out for him and how scary it was arriving on the night the bomb went off. Like everyone he was still clearly affected by the senseless slaughter. Tonight, was about his music and we want to hear that guitar burn up the venue with his distillation of blues with funk, jazz and so much more as he connected with the audience through his music. The band tonight was more than a bedrock for his guitar to fly from they added another dimension with a wildness and stupendous musicianship this is freeform blues drenched in feeling and raw heartfelt emotions. Joining Eric on stage tonight were a double helping of percussive tones with drummer Nick Hayes and Eric’s wife LaDonna Gales and the energetic, deeply talented bassist Cody Wright.
The set was a skillful display of tracks from the past, his current superb album Middle Of The Road and covers given the Gale treatment blowing a breath of fresh air though every arrangement he delivered. With Change In Me – which Eric announced as track 2 introducing us to the album; this is more than a melody and lyrics, the number celebrates the rebirth of Eric Gales. His emergence from a dark place of addiction; now his focus is his guitar and the music he creates bringing smiles and joy to the audience tonight. Boogie Man, the Freddie King classic was then given it’s Robin 2 debut; this is music that is hot, and full of electric energy taking us on a journey that fills our ears and gladden the heart. The musicianship was stupendous as the guitar wept and joined the emotional outpouring of high-octane delights. We heard Buddy Guy, and got to know the man behind the six-strings. At one point Eric left the stage allowing Cody and Nick to have centre stage. The magic fingers of Cody made the bass buzz with tonal textures it was a music driven sculpturing of notes. Then it was the turn of Eric for a solo built around Blue Oyster Cult’s, Don’t Fear The Reaper, this was an impactive solo, with the prism of notes creating a rainbow of tones and sounds; spellbinding. The delivery of Swamp another instrumental and eleventh track from the album Middle of the Road; was a whirling dervish of tambourine from LaDonna and the music flowed in a heady free-form blues extravaganza. Wow! Finishing off with Catfish Blues and then the encore this was a night of musicianship, innovative blues. There is definitely nothing Middle of The Road or standard about any of the music played by Eric and the band tonight. This is excitement, hope and joy distilled into a night that was hot and will be a highlight of 2017 that is for sure.
If you missed out on seeing Eric Gales this time; he is planning to be back possibly as early as October this year. In th emeantime his latest album Middle Of The Road out on Mascot Label Group available HERE
Tuesday Night Brighten with Devon Allman Playing Live in Bristol
Kick starting the evening loud, Mark Pontin Group who had traveled over the bridge to open for Devon Allman once again tonight. His set had a jam feel that didn’t showcase the music from his albums. Joined by Gwyn Ashton slide guitar was added to the rock-blues mix. They certainly got the crowd ready and impatient to hear Devon Allman in Bristol tonight.
Tuesday Night was definitely brightened with Devon Allman Band in town to play live music at The Tunnels. We were in for a guitar driven festival of music that hits all the right pleasure spots. Devon, jams, moulding the southern riffs and licks with vocals that have a tale to tell. Tonight Devon dipped into his back numbers from Honeytribe through to the last three superb albums.
The band that surrounded Devon, had a raw energy that bounced of the tone and textural delight that is the winning combination that sets Devon above many other troubadours of modern song; his and voice, he warms the room, engages the audience and leaves them wanting more of his music. This is why the atmosphere was electric, the audience surged forward as Devon played from the edge of the stage. Tonight, weaving the numbers together from his three Devon Allman Band albums on this Ride Or Die World Tour, with artful covers and a dip back into time to the Honeytribe his glorious licks from his Les Paul, a beautiful listening experience.
Following on from a favourite opening number Wash In A, we stepped on the Ragged & Dirty trail with Half The Truth, with that familiar yell of inclusion from Devon as he got the crowd clapping. Flowed by the distinctive open cascading of notes leads us into Can’t Lose ‘Em All leading us as the dance rhythm hits into Devon’s vocals, rich more and emotive. The room ant the The Tunnels was awash with the vibe of music that flows with an organic texture and form, not contrived this is music from the hearts, soul and talented fingers of every musician on stage. The interaction between Jackson Stokes animated playing and Devon was spellbinding it was music that you want every track to last longer. The rhythm section, powerhouse to any band did so much more that keep the beat. Between bassist Justin Corgan and drummer Anthony Steinhaur they shaped the music; providing the strong base for Devon to fly from.
From his time with Royal Southern Brotherhood, Left My Heart In Memphis joined the party, and it was a true Tuesday night party atmosphere as the wonderful lyrically driven Turn Off The World from Turquoise held us all in the hands of Devon’s guitar hands, with pick in his mouth and the fret board manipulated under his powerful direction.
Dipping into Honey tribe we heard Mahalo (Hawaiian for Thank you) from their debut album back in 2006, a wonderful instrumental that allows the instruments to communicate with you. The vibe is cool hints of Santana but one-hundred percent Allman a jam full of depth and wonder. We collectively thanked Devon for the music by loud cheers, clapping and dancing. We didn’t need any encouragement to participate in Bob Marley & The Wailers, No Woman No Cry. The Tunnels rocked on a Tuesday.
The music was an amalgamation that is all the strong with southern rock and the interpretations of the blues with Checking In On My Baby (Junior Wells); the music has a raw edge, slightly dangerous as Devon grins you are never sure what trickery will come out of the Les Paul. It always weaves its magic and tonight was no different.
Closing the set with Midnight Lake Michigan, we could not believe the time had flown by. The interludes and extras that Devon and the band blended into the set list let everyone shine a true celebration of music, live, dirty and energised. There had to be more in the bands tank of music. Yes, there was as they came back for a demanded encore. First, Devon teased us, with licks and riffs, named that tune. Before two numbers from Ride or Die Night Like This and Say Your Prayers. If we are good and say our prayers lets hope Devon Allman is back in Bristol real soon. As the last notes of the encore faded away with, we were all on a live music, Tuesdays just became a Saturday night as no-one was thinking about work the next day we had the uplifting melodies of live music, meeting of friends lingering in a haze of delights from Devon and the band.
You know it was a fabulous night when writing the review the music you choose has to be Turquoise, Ragged & Dirty & Ride or Die. However, good words can be let live music do the talking for you the energy s dramatic, uplifting and the perfect tonic for a Tuesday night in Bristol.
Back in the O2 Sheffield for the second year HRH Blues III promised with a deep blues infused line-up to be an Easter full of music. They certainly delivered across the two stages, as ever clashes were at times frustrating, demonstrating the wealth of blues in town this weekend.
HRH Blues once again created an ambience, professional on the outside, inside pure unadulterated fun of listening to live music. The two days had a mix of blues from heavy and raw through to delicate and everything in-between. More people this year stepping on the bright blue HRH Blues Train crammed with live music in Sheffield.
With two stages, we heard a total of twenty-two bands and for some Royalty Passes & Media an extra five acoustic acts early on Sunday morning. The one disappointment for many was the missing act. King King had to pull out at the last-minute – now we know it was due to Alan Nimmo having acute Laryngitis. With the number of King King T-shirts in the audience you could have expected annoyance, but all you heard and saw on social media was empathy, love and get well. The bands that did play filled the gap with extended sets from Simon McBride and Ten Years After and a slightly early Saturday.
Getting the Easter music fest started was Dani Wilde who set the scene with quality opening act it was going to be high quality blues form the first to last note. Highlights in the main stage on Saturday were…
For the vast majority that I spoke to the stand out band of the first day and the festival were Billy Walton Band, they bought fun, blues and music that just gets every one excited. Following on from the band that wowed the audience and were still being talked about as the festival closed. Why? A full on band who really get that good-time vibe flowing the boys from New Jersey bring that East Coast joie-de-vie. Billy and the band want you want to party all night. With a horn section adding texture and tone they are just very entertaining and totally enjoyable. They were ready to party with the festival a fan supplied an array of hats and they were delighted to play with the donated headgear. The atmosphere was now loud, electric with blues flowing through the O2.
Follow that, well this is HRH nothing safe, nothing out-of-bounds as The Graveltones, a duo took to the stage. Heavy, raucous, energetic and loud they divided the room just as Marmite on toast would! The guitar was raw and the drumming hard with splinters of wood being torn from the sticks. Heavy, hard with complex rhythms and bucket loads of feel, delivering a punchy set that re-defines duos and the blues.
All aboard the next station on the blues train journey to Finnish Blues with Erja Lyytinen and her band. For many of her fans the first time we have had the opportunity to listen to the music from her acclaimed album Stolen Hearts. I was definitely excited having given her the full 10-doodle paws. High class set from the renowned queen of the blues slide guitar. In the set is Black Ocean for me a highlight and favourite on the album now a live favourite as prog meets blues under the charms and skills of Erja. We joined her on the rocking Chair, sang along with Stolen hearts. Then the trained steamed up the hill with her interpretation of Tina Turner’s Steamy windows. This was blues that sparkled as Erja smiled, played and won our hearts.
This year with the addition of food stalls and coffee there was no need to leave the arena and miss a single note of blues that was weaving their magic over the audience. Now we had two stages running parallel always a conundrum what to stay and listen too. Quick run upstairs to catch some of Will Wilde, this was the decision of many as the second stage was rammed and Will’s harmonica playing won him many new fans. For some the band of the weekend having never heard him play before. Will delivers more ‘authentic’ blues almost a match for Erja, a shame about the clash of blues titans. Will is one of the best blues-harp players on the UK circuit. Now we had a festival exploding under the glories of blues in full flight.
Back downstairs for Pig Iron returning for the second year. Describing themselves as Blues Metal this was pounding heavy blues that incorporates some delicate harp playing. Upstairs was Troy Redfern, the Welsh slide guitar troubadour. With tracks from his current album Backdoor Hoodoo. His rendition of John The Revelator is always a crowd-pleasing winner as it was tonight in Sheffield. The HRH Blues train was now gathering speed and pulling in a wide variety of acts.
Now back to the main stage for Simon McBride and the headliners returning for the second year Ten Year After. First, a stunning blues rock guitarist Simon McBride. The set saturated with scintillating riffs and licks making Simon’s PRS guitar sing and squeal. An accomplished set strewn with covers to extend the time on stage and numbers from his last two albums. What a set it was a tone the festival wanted to hear that mix of SRV, Hendrix woven together with McBride magic. The dueling between bass and guitar was magnificent. As he played Good Times Roll, following a McBride favourite Down To The Wire we were definitely having a great Easter Saturday as he closed with Deadman Walking we were all alive with festival fever.
After fifty years of touring with Ten Years After Chick Churchill & Ric Lee are now joined by bassist Colin Hodgkinson and the charismatic Marcus Bonfanti. Marcus’ vocals are full of power, tonal texture, his guitar playing sharp and the harp adds another dimension to the Ten Year After sound of 2017. No Ten Year After set is complete without The Hobbit, Ric Lee and his drumming acrobatics. A wonderful set blending old stalwarts and new numbers from the forthcoming album A Sting In The Tale out later this year. The whole set is a perfect platform for showcasing what a great and oft underrated guitarist Marcus is. Wow moments of the festival with Love Like A Man and Good Morning Little Schoolgirl. Ten Years After strong after Fifty-years and the thrill of a new album. What a Saturday now for Sunday’s delights.
Sunday, started with a Smörgåsbord of acoustic showcases, including Chantel McGregor; Big Boy Bloater, Crow Black Chicken and Dan Patlansky who we would be hearing in full amplified glory during the day. The sets were chilled whilst also demonstrating the varied sounds achievable from the acoustic. This was personified by the difference between Big Boy Bloater and Dan Patlansky, same guitar totally different tone and approach. We heard hollers, blues and songs given new shapes a perfect slow wake up call to join the main blues train downstairs on stage one. Into the mix the wonderful vocals and charm of Jack Hutchinson a welcomed addition to any blues gathering, with a new band album, Set Your Heart For The Sun, let’s hope he is back electric in 2018.
What a stunning set once again from the mighty Sean Webster with his new band The Deadlines. Having heard Sean many times he never disappoints, unsurprisingly he was the find of the weekend for many. His rendition of I’d Rather Go Blind moved many to tears with the raw, intense emotion he puts into every word sung and note played. Sean has the winning combination of a superb blues voice and plays the guitar with lightning blue touch. Now living in Netherlands, Sean is the enigma of the British Blues scene never reaching the heights his playing should be taking him. Let’s hope the station stop on HRH Blues Train will be the launch pad for a renaissance of Sean the bluesman. Following on from Sean, in a bright red dress is Chantel McGregor always a firm favourite with her many fans. The set was a mix of favourites and her latest album. Anyone hoping for some new material would be disappointed, though there was a new drummer in the band. The set was safe, definitely rockier than the early days of Chantel. She still smiles with warmth and affection and Freefalling was a guitar blazing delight as were the other guitar improvisations. Her rhythm section gives her a solid platform, bassist Colin Sutton and Ollie Goss on Drums. The mischievous Chantel was ever present with ‘Aving A Giraffe a fun out take celebrating the April the Giraffe giving birth the story that Chantel has been following on Social media. The set overall felt a little flat, come on Chantel lets have some new McGregor gems soon. This is the nuances that makes live music fun a have to be there moment. British Blues celebration continues with Laurence Jones with his new band. Laurence is maturing the new band seems to fit his style and the addition of Bennet Holland on keys certainly adds some textures to the music complementing Laurence’s stinging guitar. We are enjoying this stop on the train. Yes, this is British blues-rock personified; what is great to see Laurence continuing to grow in stature, developing his sound and staying fresh. The longer lead breaks played with growing confidence adds interest and variance in the live sound. Fantastic audience participation during JJ Cale’s Cocaine, conducted with vigour and winning smile from Laurence more Cream and Clapton than Cale. That is no bad thing in a stalwart of the blues circuit who wins fans whenever he picks up his guitar and plays. .
Quick sojourn to Stage 2 for StoneWire a band from the South coast that I had heard about. This is a five-piece led by a big voice. Another great female vocalist out front shaping the StoneWire sound. Whilst on stage one, young gun Aaron Keylock, was completing the very British Blues opening to the day. Solid set as this man’s stage presence grows. He is full of potential and the setlist was a perfect showcasing opportunity for Across The Grain his debut album. The slide guitar was over loud and the vocals slurred but every time you hear him there is improvement, Spin The Bottle a set residence that suits this young man who is truly motivated and shaped by the blues. Not to be missed, if you get the opportunity another HRH Blues festival favourites are definitely Black Crow Chicken. The sound is earthy, dirty blues. Every song has a colourful story as they take the blues train down an Irish lane as roots blues collide with Irish Tradition through the amplifier. The humour is dry and all-encompassing that follows through into the strong lyrics. With Jonestown and a tribute to Pat McManus from Pariah Brothers, the latest album. This is a band I could have listened to for longer. A definite bring back next year request. With Big Boy Bloater following, his acoustic set was superb so we were looking forward to electric Luxury Hobo. The sound was too loud for the small stage area and that meant the music lost its edge. That said what a rendition of bloater blues pushing them to the limits and he knows how to entertain the crowds vital for any set and sometimes missing. The superb track from his album Luxury Hobo, It Came From The Swamp won him many fans another strong contender for stage one 2018.
Now back to Stage 1 for South African, Dan Patlansky who always delivers fireworks from his Strat. Tonight, with a band of session players from Germany we were treated to a stand out set of guitar acrobatics. Old Red is the signatures Strat of Dan, and is off for a refurb after this UK tour. With his latest single from Introvertigo, Sonova Faith given a live airing we hear the clever improvisation that is part of the live show. Never expect to hear the songs the same, chords and lyrics are a constant but the interpretation every time is a certainty. Dan can rock his blues, and then with an application of the blues breaks will slow it right down. Then you listen with care as it is as good as it gets. Dan Patlansky is a showman. He brings Laurence Jones back to play Bright Lights, Big City that sees a guitar dueling that sparked with jaw dropping intensity. Closing the set, instrumental My Chana is a majestic exploration of the every sound a strat can make. As he experiments with feedback, ringing single notes. The audience are spellbound, a collective holding of breath with wonderment. No one wanted the moment to end. Sadly, it did one more act Stan Webbs Chicken Shack and 2017 HRH Blues fell silent.
Easter Sunday, this year more music that chocolate. What a tasty day once again HRH train ride was full of blues hooks, licks and riffs, laughs and friends the perfect festival journey.
HRH Blues III blues train was full of exciting stops along the complex musical map that incorporates The Blues. The festival does not rely on have the same favourite acts returning each year. Weaving into the acts surprises and variance in the sound of blues.
With such an array of blues it is unsurprising, with not a single act announced HRH Blues IV; 14-15th April 2018is already over eighty percent sold. People want to come back, reserving there spot for when the HRH Blues train leaves the station once again in Sheffield 2018. HRH Blues a definite for Blues lovers diaries.