Supporting Hamilton Loomis to a packed club tonight is the Mark Pontin Group a favourite amongst blues fans of South Wales, they fly the Welsh flag in the U.K. Blues scene and gaining recognition as they are up for two awards in British Blues Awards 2014 – Best Emerging Artist and Best Blues song with Just One More Day from their début album Days of Destiny.
The set tonight was a mix of covers given the Pontin treatment and self-penned numbers off his album, producing a flow of songs that delighted. It is the solidity of the rhythm section; Christopher Baglole – Drums and Alun Walters – Bass extending into backing vocals providing Mark with the perfect foundation upon which to build his lead work. The audience loved the mini jam and the tracks they love to hear him perform including Days Of Destiny, Chasing Blood and the Buddy Guy inspired Own It; his version of Albert King’s Cross-cut Saw always sets the scene and the set grows stronger and stronger every-time I hear it.
It was a packed house, the crowd waited with bated breath for the start of Hamilton’s set with his new band, Armando Aussenac (Drums) born in Mexico City, Fabian Hernandez (Saxes, Keys, Background Vocals) a Texan from Dallas and Dante Ware (Bass, Background Vocals) born in Trenton N.J and “My mom says I started playing the drums before I started walking.” Opening with Eternally, from his latest album Give It Back showed that Hamilton and the band were on fire and the great new line-up delivered this Texan style funky blues. Stuck in a Rut raised the temperature in the room and the band raised the bar even higher, this was blues played with verve, style and passion. The Hamilton Sound is all about ‘feel’ combined with a squeaky tight band that just makes you want stamp your feet and get up dancing. Smokin’ Gun always a favourite in any Hamilton set was heavy on the theatrics and very effective drawing the audience in as we watched every move and gesture and purred with delight at every note played. Numbers showcased from his latest CD including My Partner In Crime were a little rockier with loads of Prince style funk and it really works showing a style that can only be described as Hamilton Loomis. Bow Wow another of the many requests from the audience that Hamilton obligingly played got the house jumping as everybody’s favourite was performed with the customary leaping from chairs to tables and back again. It was an evening of funky blues in the Swansea Delta enjoyed amongst friends as we heard Best Worse Day and many more all too soon it was time for the band to leave the stage and not before an encore of Where We Started. As ever, the consummate professional and the backing band were stupendous, he just keeps getting better, I know that every-time I hear Hamilton Loomis play I know I am going to be entertained with great music, stage craft and it will be fun he is so consistent but I must say this band is the best yet! Why?..The band was in perfect harmony as they played off each other with the freedom of a jam, the timing was immaculate with silence and stopping dead together; the interaction between Dante on bass and Hamilton was spellbinding – blues in Swansea doesn’t get better than this on a Thursday night!