UK Blues Challenge 2015
Boom Boom Club, Sutton
One Venue, a New organisation and 4 bands was everything you needed for a fantastic competition and night of live music exploring the depth and breadth of twenty-first century British Blues to have a winning combination. The evening was organized by the newly formed UK Blues Federation, and held at Pete Feenstra’s wonderful Boom Boom Club. The music comprised four bands, Brothers Groove, Katie Bradley Band, Malaya Blue and Red Butler providing the judges with a challenge of their own to score the wealth of talent on display tonight. The decision meant the winner would be going on to represent the U.K. at The European Blues Challenge in Torritadi Sienna Capitale Europea del Blues 2016; the band flying the flag with energy and a winning style will be Red Butler.
The club was packed and the anticipation high as people came together to enjoy catching up with friends and making new ones, everyone though was here to support the bands.
First on stage were Brothers Groove, who delivered blues full of rhythms and blues with a deep grove and energy, the two guitars up front give tone and texture that funk up the bluest of grooves; the applause reflected that every one of the four tracks they choose tonight were enjoyed.
The second band, Katie Bradley Band was the only band that played the harp and combined with Katie’s wonderful singing voice this is a band that pulls up the depths of the Delta and the intertwining weaves between Dudley Ross on guitar and Paul Jobson on keys created a musical storm of instrumentation that reflects the expressive vocals.
Third band of the evening and second band with a woman as lead vocalist is Malaya Blue who has been stirring up a storm at festivals and shows where Malaya and the band entertain. Her voice is rich and velvety smooth , a soul singer that shouts the blues and her band tonight was the second outing of the evening for Dudley on guitar, and on keys Paul Long. The music was smooth and the audience listened spellbound as the four original tracks sung by Malaya put a spell on everyone listening tonight.
Another quick change over and the last band of the night Red Butler hit the stage and the third female vocalist Jane Chloe Pearce took the microphone upped the tempo and got the audience participating with clapping and choruses it was electric live music captivating everyone; impressing the judges so that they got the top marks and are off to Italy in April 2016. This is a band that is greater than the sum of the individual talents, Alex Butler on guitar takes the lead and plays dirty with a slide and then ups the tempo with fine electric guitar fingering. The rhythm section of Mikey Topp and Charlie Simpson give the band a platform that hums and bounces with an energized rhythm. The songs reflect modern living and Pension Blues is a reflection that planning for your pension is not the top of a young bands priorities. Alex and Jane leaving the stage and then walking through the audience provided a fitting close for the set that ultimately won.
In addition to this it was an opportunity to present to prize to participants who where winners at British Blues Awards 2015, filling in the gap while the audience waited to hear who the winners were. a real opportunity to celebrate the wonderful musicians that create the vibrant British Blues Scene.