Sunday 24th January Equals Rock & Blues – Skegness

Sunday 24th January Equals Rock & Blues – Skegness

 


Back to the Church of live music on Sunday the last day of Skegness Rock and Blues weekend and what a way to start; Babajack back on REDS after raising the roof last year with their unique talented re-working of blues roots music the Babajack way! 

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Feels strange to be listening to them at midday instead of late at night. Babajack are special they refuse to be pigeon-holed into any genre they just play the music they love with verve and excitement and Becky wins you over every time with a sparkling smile and voice that carries you into a world of music with emotional twists and turns. Babajack sum themselves up as – rooted in the passion of live music! Opening as a duo, Becky & Trevor fill the auditorium with deep chords and zinging energy that ignites with Hammer & Tongs. Then the tempo rises with an additional rhythm section Tosh on drums and Adam on bass. The creation of a four-piece frees Becky up to dance and sing with the freedom of not being the percussionist as well. It works every time I hear Babajack and they transport me into their roots fuelled energy bubble of music. Gallows Pole a  British folk tune travelled to be reinterpreted by Leadbelly then back again for a Zep rock number. Now it is Babajack’s! the centre piece of their set. The new material from their forthcoming anticipated album sounds good, very good. Once again winning new fans and there were a few if the length of the queue at the merch desk is a measure. Staying in Reds for some heavy metal from part of the movement NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal ) Tygers of Pantang rocked REDS. A charismatic and grand entrance for this energetic visually appealing and musically heavy band.   The Tygers deliver rock with an edgy rawness that connects, In-your-face rock always works. This is always going to be a band that fans of heavy rock are going to enjoy time and time again. This is heavy rocky and the guitar riffs rock through the vocals. I popped my head around the door and dropped into the jazz zone and to my surprised it was packed. Up front crowds were dancing smiling and delighted to be basking in the sound waves of Courtney Pine’s saxophone. What a diverse sound this afternoon Babajack, Tygers and then Courtney; shows once again music is a broad church and Butlins brings it all to a stage at Skegness over the weekend.

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Sunday’s Introducing Stage provided four bands that again reflected the difference in grassroots music across the country. Opening with Rainbreakers, I had heard and reviewed the album so looking forward to hearing them live. Rainbreakers delivered live a young band full of style and energy. Rainbreakers delivered a tight high quality set full of delectable riffs and licks. The stage craft was great and the vocals strong this was a set that got the crowds around the stage excited. They set the bar very high for the following three bands. Voodoo Sheiks followed performing amixed set of covers and their own material all getting the giving them ‘Voodification’ treatment. Dancers were delighted and stepped up to dance and this was blues that rocked with urbane panache. This was a popular band that certainly will always be a hit at festivals and clubs. From Scotland, The Brian Rawson Band, this was a solid set as they re-shaped classic blues, including On Top of the World.  Tamira Herrebrugh up front, recently re-located from her native Amsterdam to Glasgow and is a perfect fit for this easy going blues band.  The last of the 2016 bands playing for the chance to play on a main stage in 2017 were Derbyshire based These Wicked Rivers. Love the originality of the name. Unfortunately for me this rockier band missed the originality test. They played a rockier set with a big voice up front. For the numbers all merged the tone and beat did not have a contrast and thus the groove didn’t stand out enough in each number.

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Sunday evening the end of the weekend and still so many bands to fit in. Opening on Centre Stage were The Della Grants. They won last year on the Introducing Stage so this was their moment in the limelight of a main stage. They stepped up, smiled and played their socks off. The Della Grants loved being on the big stage and the audience loved hearing them, hence the huge queue to buy the EP launched tonight. They opened with Lay My Head a harp driven ditty delivered with confidence and charisma. The majority of the set were their own numbers, the exceptions being Keb Mo’s Am I Wrong with change of vocalist from Max to Tom, and the classic Stones track Miss You. A magnificent set, enjoyed by the packed audience they played with aplomb and passion it was a fun ride to hear this band step out on a big stage. Joined by Steve Walwyn, guitarist from Dr Feelgood for Red Mist finishing the set in style. The atmosphere was electric what a thoroughbred R n’ B start to the evening.  Bluesdoodles stayed for another helping of British R N’ B from Dr Feelgood. An evergreen band, always deliver the music that people enjoy whenever they appear and they often do in Butlins in January. They come back because they are popular people danced sang along and had pure festival fun.

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Quick trip out of the heat of Centre stage and some welcomed fresh air to catch up with Martin Turner plays Wishbone Ash. Opening with a couple of new numbers then we were plunged back into the 1970’s back catalogue.  The songs were near-perfect reproductions of the original numbers, Warrior was terrific. Wonderful prog-rock, where the music speaks for itself. Winding up with Jailbait this was a set of nostalgia rather than quality. Closing act on Reds was Wille and The Bandits, quirky is their unique selling point.  This was a set full of drama and interest. The lyrics were strong and the music was full of textures and tonal shapes, with a mix of electric and acoustic instruments. The upright bass created a delight full sound as the bow was passed across the strings. The slide and lap guitar sound was rough and powerful that hits deep into your solar plexus. The vocals were full of gravelly tones adding emotion to the lyrics. Their version of Black Magic Woman was spellbinding.  The whole set was quirky and controlled refreshingly different and who can resist a cow bell.

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The last band for Bluesdoodles was Paul Lamb and The King Snakes, They produced a set that always worked the venue was packed and Paul’s harp curled around the stage and beyond. Like the Feelgoods, and Nine Below Zero they will always draw the crowds and have a loyal following. Why? It is quality blues that just leaves you with a smile on your face and spring in your step and the beat of music pulsing through your veins.

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