The guitar sound delivered by Ben Poole tonight confirms that he is one of the best of the current crop of young British Blues Guitarists as he opened what promised to be a great evening of quality guitar dominated blues. His rhythm section is rock solid with Pepe Le Moko on bass and Sam Wade playing powerful drums that complement the power-driven guitar upfront. There was some great interplay between Ben and Sam, at times it was teasing at others almost a battle making a the set alive and enjoyable This is just the platform he needs to launch into astonishing lead breaks that were controlled whilst combining flourishes and pure energy as he delivered tracks including Lets Go Upstairs and Mr Pitiful. There is nothing pitiful about the quality delivered and definitely warmed The Globe up nicely for the main act of the evening award-winning Matt Schofield and one of the best opening acts I have seen this year.
After a short break where the excitement was growing in a busy venue on a Sunday night, the atmosphere was electric as they welcomed one of Britain’s best blues masters onto the stage. The set was full of tracks that spanned Matt’s career and from all his albums, including his latest; Far As I Can See. Opening with Don’t Know What I’d Do, If I wasn’t Loving You an old favourite of his and the purity of the lead breaks was ‘guitar heaven’ showing how he is head and shoulders above other British Blues guitarists and one of the top across the world. It is the combination of the style of playing timing and the way each note is given a clarity and texture that flows and melds into each other. His voice is an added bonus with it’s easy confidence and blends perfectly with the guitar. Live Wire from Heads, Tails and Aces, has a wonderful New Orleans tone and Jamie Little on drums tonight delivered an enigmatic and poised 2nd line. Tonight the trio included Carl Stanbridge on bass, and it did seem strange seeing Matt without his right-hand man on the Hammond B but once you tuned into this new line-up nothing could detract from a stellar performance, in many ways it focussed your ears and attention on the guitar playing, even The Globe’s acoustics were no match for Matt as he let the guitar do the talking and the sound reached the rafters. The whole set was full of emotional playing that made the guitar sing in perfect harmony the backing from Rhythm section and different complimentary tones and textures. This was demonstrated perfectly on Siftin’ Thought Ashes, everyone had a solo a we have come to expect on this track that gives every instrument a moment to step forward. I had high expectations for tonight and Matt did not disappoint he seems to be a more confident player and just keeps delivering while raising the bar.
Ben joined Matt for Stranger Blues and they had a jam that they were both clearly loving and the audience was delighted as they dueled in their own styles to create lively blues. A great ending to a quite sensational night of live entertaining music of the highest quality, a fantastic night to end November on.
Jamie treated us to some clever and imaginative drumming by discarding his sticks and using his hands – this was real ‘handy work’ with Matt adding hints of Santana – Soul Sacrifice, then Carl had some time on the bass with a great controlled solo.
All too soon the evening was over, but not we had a wonderful encore from his latest album, Oakville Shuffle an instrumental that is a delight.
For gallery of photographs – click the link Liz Aiken Photography