Samantha Fish and some of the Wheel, opened the evening of live music with her distinctive Cigar Box Guitar producing a rugged Southern sound that reminded me of Moreland and Arbuckle with the bonus of Samantha’s wonderful vocal delivery as she is one of the few female blues vocalists who can pull of such a weighty sound. The spokes of the wheel accompanying her were the rhythm section of flamboyant and stylish bass player Scott Sutherland and New Orleans drummer Rob Lee. This is a trio who loves the music they play and have a simple mission for you to have a great time, and everyone at The Scene tonight were having a great time delighted to be standing in front of three musicians of such calibre and the promise of Mike Zito to come. This was due to a very large part by Samantha’s great stage presence as she really connected with the crowd with charm, smile and above all her talent which oozes into the guitar as she makes the six strings sing. Mike Zito joined her for a duet which was a delight as they sparred on guitars and sang in harmony with the vocals contrasting with each other, a wonderful moment. The Wheel left for a moment and we were treated to an acoustic moment as she delivered a Rolling Stone cover, Dead Flowers, what an original re-working of a rarely heard stones classic from their Sticky Fingers album. We heard lots of tracks from her current album Black Wind Howlin’ including the title track, then far too soon it was time for her to leave the stage with a short break, where she mixed with the crowd chatting and relaxed as her album was purchased; she did not need to sell on stage as the music was a calling card that everyone would want to take home and hear again and again.
Mike Zito and the Wheel stepped on to the stage to a loud cheer and applause, with many who had heard him earlier this year in Cardiff as part of Royal Southern Brotherhood now we could enjoy him centre stage. The stage was set for an array of songs that showcased his guitar skills, vocals and the skills of the Wheel now complete with saxophonist extraordinaire Jimmy Carpenter who added moody textures and a full sound to underlay the licks and riffs delivered by Mike. This is quality music that has blended, and mingled Blues with a Texan twang, southern rock and soul. We were treated to a selection of tracks including Pearl River co-written with Cyril Neville and from an earlier album and from his latest Mike Zito and The Wheel On the Road – Rainbow Bridge, Gone to Texas and I Never Knew a Hurricane with Samantha joining him on stage as a vocalist – live music doesn’t get better than this. The set was inspired displaying the talents of everyone with Rob & Scot providing a platform that was not solid and staid but with a bucket load of free-form grooves they made the rhythm section so funky simply ACE!
Bad News was an outstanding version of Luther Allison’s, Bad News Is Coming, despite the Gibson Flying V guitar staying on its stand, this was dramatic music. We had a showcase moment when Jimmy Carpenter stepped into centre stage with a the title track from his current album Walk Away, showing there was a third singer/songwriter musician on stage as he delivered a smooth and funky sound with his voice and expressive tenor saxophone. With the audience hanging on to every note delivered by Mike, listening to every friendly comment they want more and more from Samantha, Mike, Rob, Scot and Jimmy leaving the audience excited, little bit breathless and wanting more, this is why live music is so infectious.
Catch this amazing live act in Europe Nov 2014 – Click TOUR for further dates