Once again, RAWpromo have delivered an evening of quality live music that bought summer fun to The Flowerpot opening with a young band who once again impressed me with a mighty fine set, reaffirming the thoughts I had when I heard them back in January on the Introducing stage, Rock & Blues Weekend in Skegness. On a crowded stage the Della Grants, a four piece band delivering their own brand of blues they have knitted together combining rocky beats, with swampy harp and a pair of vocalist who shape the vocals so that you are held in the sway of the song. Tonight we were treated to a selection of self-penned numbers that are on their debut album Time For Change; though they did also include a wonderful cover of a Keb Mo’s Am I Wrong, with Tom taking over on the vocals that suited his voice adding another tonal colour and range to an entertaining set. We heard a new slide guitar number Back Biter Blues that certainly had a bite that hooked you in as the glass slide made the strings have a singing tone and Max’s glorious vocal tones a mix of a young Marcus Bonfanti meeting Ian Siegal full of warmth and that snarl that makes blues work. The highlight though was Greed To Feed a number that had that special element that makes it stand out from the crowd and definitely single material. Look out for Della Grants, get your local venue to book them they will delight you with the music that flows whether fast, slow or with a rocky tempo as they mingle and merge Blues and Rock n’ Roll to great effect.
After a short break and time to reflect on the quality of the opening act Ben Poole, closing his current tour of 55 gigs in 9 countries, stepped on the stage with his band and it was ready steady go for a guitar spectacular as they delivered song after song building the energy in The Flowerpot tonight. The set list was a stylish, accomplished mix of Ben Poole’s own numbers and re-arrangements of songs that fitted seamlessly into the flow of the music. Always a stand out number, Nobody No More that bends and blends Ben’s stellar guitar playing with emotional lyrics of pain with a guitar solo that guarantees, Ben will always be a guitar player that hits the right groove every time. No guitarist can deliver his fiery magic without a band that adds to the power and depth of tone his rhythm section delivered with Sam Wade on drums, though the cymbals did at times over power the stage at this small venue and Brad Davies on bass who certainly keep the deep note groove going. Ben Poole tonight nailed every song he played his many fans were enthralled and new ones delighted to be in the company of blues guitar played with poise and timing as the tempo ebbed and flowed. However good recorded music is, even if it is a live concert like Ben’s latest, Live At The Royal Albert Hall, they do not have the zinging fresh feel of watching a band live with all the quirks of playing in front of an audience. Tonight it was Sam Mason on keys who had to cope with the gremlins as one of his keyboards faded away during a lengthy absorbing reworking of the now blues classic number Have You Ever Loved a Woman with the Ben Poole stamp firmly placed on a rendition that many of the audience proclaimed the best they have ever heard.
Finishing the evening with a fitting jam of BB King Numbers we all thought about the power that is Riley and how he will live forever at live music venues across the world. Ben Poole is one of the many fine blues guitarists playing across U.K. and Europe that have energy, style, skills and that blues magic dust that makes his show a tingling good event.