Rhythm & Booze An online music webzine created by music lovers for music lovers.

2 April, 2015

The Blue Road Live @ The Prince Of Wales, Ledbury 29/3/15

Filed under: blues,Live Reviews — Tags: , , — willmunn @ 18:37

 

Taking the ‘The Blue Road’ @ POW Ledbury 29/03

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My usual Sunday haunt, and a new band for me, The Blue Road is guitarist and vocalist Brian Caves, bassist Andy Partridge and Stewart Manley, tucked behind an immaculate set of Premier drums. Brian’s weapons of choice, are not the usual Fender or Gibson, but arguably more exotic, Music man, PRS and some older Godin’s.

They are a blues band, so what better than to start with a classic that BB King made his own, ‘Thrill Has Gone’, a lovely starter, but we are soon thrown off track by some soul, though not as you would recognise it, ‘Can’t Get Next To You’, the heavy riff seems fine as the song becomes born again blues! Brian’s very own ‘What You See Aint What You Get’, is demonstrated, we’re in rock territory here, and Brian puts the PRS to good use. The faithful gathering are in the groove, and the band feed on the applaud.

For me, it was not quite all rosy, The Blue Road turned to a Eurythmics hit, naturally reformed, in this case with tinges of jazz in the blues/rock blend. Sorry boys but, leave ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’, to Annie, she can do no wrong. A quick recovery as Brian’s Texas tainted rock number blows us away, ‘Addicted to You’, restores their standing. Time for a beer.

Aynsley Lister’s ‘Everything I need’, rocks off the restart, and then, a bit of a gem, the band take on Bonamassa’s ‘Mountain Time’, well Joe is Joe, but the band made a nice job of it, no to be fair it was excellent, Brian worked his guitar nicely as the song moved from the meadows and streams, to the soaring heights.

The Blue Road, certainly pick out some lovely songs, not to mention the genre work overs, we are retailed of the films that made this song famous, 9 ½, ‘You Can leave Your Hat On’, Stewart enjoyed thumping this one out. We’re all on a roll, a bit of funk keeps us going, before someone calls for Hendrix, well who wouldn’t. The band oblige, ‘All Along The Watchtower’, blast out.

Time for another Blue Road original, ‘My Kind Of Girl’ fits the bill, rock on. Another genre shift, but I had no problem with this, maybe not royalty, but some very nice, refreshing, ‘Purple Rain’, came pouring down. The evening is rushing by, but nobody is moving away, more is demanded, so thats what we get, Gary Moore, to be precise, the superb, up beat, funky ‘Since I Met You Baby’. The Blue Road, had entertained us well, nobody present had seen or heard them before, coming from the East side of the Midlands, this was new territory. Brian, Andy and Stewart, had brought their own slant on some unexpected songs, as well as a selection of their own music. The Rock and Blues classics had been performed well, lovely guitar riffs, subtle bass and solid drumming produced a satisfying evening at this Ledbury landmark.

 

Words & Photos Graham Munn

27 March, 2015

Matt Woosey/White Feather Collective Live @ The Marrs Bar, Worcester 20/3/15

Time For A Marrs Bar, ‘While The Cats Away’

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Matt Woosey launched his latest CD, While The Cats Away at Marrs on this evening, a good crowd had assembled, with a real buzz in the air. Supporting Matt, in full plumage, Malvern band White Feather Collective, also had a distinct, youthful following, present.

This band plays a fascinating form of rock, which seems embedded in an early 70’s groove, having said that, they warmed up with a distinctly Mersey side sounding ‘Fireball’ of an instrumental, thumping drums and bass from Chris and bearded Roo. ‘Crosstown’, takes on a Doors feel, with Josh’s voice ‘stolen’ from Morrison, and I’m not talking supermarkets. The lyrics seem to fit the bill too, we slip back to the Mersey sound for ‘Yearning’, William’s Strat guitar leading strongly, but still that drum and bass coming through. Back into Doors mode for ‘Writing A Novel’, Josh in fine voice, before a more frenetic, ‘Shake It Up’, superb, with Josh filling in with some harmonica, and William, head down, buried in his guitar. When I saw this band 6 months ago, at The Cube, I was impressed, given their recent formation, I remain impressed, they produce an excellent sound, with fine instrumentation and lyrics. There are samples on Bandcamp, but being a bit of a dinosaur, I wait for a recording session and something to take home, switch on, volume up, walls shaking, and relive some great rock years.

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Time for Matt, seated centre stage, guitar in hand, he started with a solo session, switch in some reverb, and a long instrumental feed in to ‘Love Is The Strangest Thing’. Matt looking fully warmed up it was time for a bit of fun, with the influential Rory Gallagher’s ‘Too Much Alcohol’, Matt seems to squeeze one more drop out of the bottle, every time he performs this song. The slide comes out for ‘Little Red Rooster’, before taking 99 and one half days before Matt is joined on stage by The Funksters, with electric guitar, drum and the unmistakeable presence of a Hammond Organ. Alex, Ryan and Simon, slot into the Woosey groove, subtle, but with tangible presence. ‘We Do Exactly As We Please’, brought in some nice organ licks as Matt looked toward Simon for a filling. ‘Hook Line And Sinker’, brought in the effective guitar chords from Alex, with Ryan tinkering on the high hats, as Matt casts out the lines. ‘Same Old Blues’, which Matt terms as a collection of mutterings, was turned into a full on thrash, a lovely heavily fruited, jam from the assembled band. The evening was rolling along nicely, Matt threw the dice and played I’ve Seen The Bottom’, a song he would not normally do solo, but here? The Funksters did not let him down, the bottom was not so lonely tonight, vision may be murky, but the sound was brilliant.

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Now a real first for me, something was happening, that I have never previously witnessed. Matt stood, put aside his guitar, adjusted the microphone, and gave us a soulful old American gospel song, ‘Wayfaring Stranger’, some real spiritual blues, laid out in fine style. ‘Wade In The Water’, took us to the edge, as the evening was closing in. It had been outstanding, the air filled to the sound of applause and calls for more, there was more. Matt re-united with his guitar, called for the White Feather boys, it was going to be a new Collective, as the Funksters held their place, 2 drum sets, 2 leads, a Hammond, bass and 2 acoustic guitars, what could go wrong. Absolutely nothing, Matt led them into ‘Bad Moon Rising’, joined by Josh at the microphone. The girls danced around the floor, as the super band played out the night, it had been a fabulously entertaining evening, and Matt’s CD, When The Cats Away was well and truly launched.

Words & Photos Graham Munn

19 March, 2015

Neil Ivison Live @ The Gardeners Arms, Droitwich 12/3/15

Filed under: acoustic,Live Reviews,rock,rock n roll — Tags: , , — willmunn @ 13:42

Neil Ivison Live @ The Gardeners Arms, Droitwich 12/3/15

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The Gardeners Arms is fast becoming the place to be over in Droitwich, with regular nights of musical merriment being the order of the day. In recent months we’ve seen the likes of Hattie Briggs, Sunjay and Melvin Hancox and continuing the rich pickings, tonight’s entertainment was provided by Neil Ivison (of the Misers).

The pub was moderately populated, but those that did attend were treated to an infectious set lifted from across the hallowed songbooks of rock n roll and beyond, as Neil delivered a set littered with timeless classics, requests and a handful of originals thrown in for good measure.

From the opening rendition of Tom Petty’s Won’t Back Down, the sheer enjoyment of just performing was etched on Neil’s face, his gravelly vocals rang out, as he fingered the chords masterfully. The first request came in and Ring Of Fire by Johnny Cash was expertly despatched, Neil’s vocals mirroring those of the country legend perfectly, whilst the patrons around the bar mouthed along contently.

Neil’s set continued with takes on U2 (Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, With or Without You), The Beatles (Ticket To Ride), The Boss (Dancing In The Dark), The Eagles and beyond.

As the set continued I found myself humming along to near enough each and every song, a passionate take on Heard it Through The Grapevine and a mass sing-a-long to Don’t Look Back In Anger provided early second set highlights. Before the audience requested a few originals, Bantam Weight, Get Up For Love and a fantastic stripped down (and personal favourite) Lord, Shuffle My Feet were delivered, each of the songs sitting comfortably alongside the well known covers and appreciated in equal measure, proving Neil’s songwriting and delivery credentials.

Neil finished up his second set with a slice of Queen, leaving the audience with a collective grin on their faces and a song in their hearts, having seen a performer at very much the top of his game, whether playing his own or other folks material.

The numerous occasions I’ve seen Neil (and the Misers) I’ve never failed to enjoy the night, if you want a fantastic, fun night out and a good old sing-a-long, I highly recommend catching Mr Ivison, when he hits your local.

Video And Photo Taken @ Prince Of Wales in Ledbury by Graham Munn

12 March, 2015

Alex Rainsford/Ethan Ash Live @ The Marrs Bar 8/3/15

Filed under: folk,indie,Live Reviews,singer-songwriter,soul — Tags: , , , — willmunn @ 12:26

IMG_2053 ETHAN ASH PRESS

Since Worcester’s finest music venue opened all those years back, I’ve witnessed countless bands and numerous singer-songwriters pass through the hallowed doors, from the good, the bad and the ugly, there have been packed out gigs and there’s been the woefully unattended, the forgettable and the never forgot, the Marrs Bar has seen it all (and so have I).

On an unassuming Sunday evening The Marrs Bar welcomed a young singer-songwriter for the first time by the name of Ethan Ash and in front of an audience of around about twelve people (don’t get me started about the apathy of the so-called Worcester gig-goer) he proceeded to deliver what has to go down in history as one of the most impressive debuts (if not gigs) at the venue since the grand opening.

From the opening number, Would You Mind, Ethan, with just his guitar for company, grabbed the attention of the few in attendance and bewitched them with his stunning, mesmeric voice, his instantly likable stage mannerisms and those all important hook-laden songs. Tales of love and loss were delivered with such emotion, such passion that every note hit by Ethan yanked at the heart strings, it was almost difficult to comprehend how a guy, short in stature could reach such impressive heights, his voice swooped and soared whilst his guitar (both acoustic and electric) rang out.

On the sole cover, As Long As I can See The Light (originally Creedence Clearwater Revival) you could almost imagine a gospel choir joining in as Ethan made the song his own with a stunning soul makeover, whilst originals such as Seems Like Love Has Died, Face To Face and Boy Like Me all equally impressed, whilst the encore of Chasing Your Love has hit written all over, with it’s compelling folky melody and infectious vocal hook.

Sure there may not have been many people in attendance, but there wasn’t a single person in the building not moved by Ethan’s jaw-dropping set, soul has a new name and that name is Ethan Ash.

Before I run off into the sunset proclaiming Ethan as the new messiah, I must also mention Alex Rainsford, who offered support on the night, he delivered an interesting set that combined an indie sensibility to the standard singer-songwriter fare, time changes and anthemic vocals, creating stirring anthemic like songs such as Better Man and brand new track Left Behind, both standouts of an impressive slot, proving Alex to be a more than capable writing and performer, who’s well worth keeping an eye out for in the future.

Rhythm & Booze Rating 1o
www.ethanashmusic.com

 

22 February, 2015

Doc Bowling & His Blues Professors/Sunjay/Final Measure-Live At St Georges Hall, Bewdley

Filed under: Blog,Live Reviews — Tags: — willmunn @ 08:45

Doc Bowling & His Blues Professors/Sunjay/Final Measure Live @ St Georges Hall, Bewdley

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Bewdley, quaint but hardly renowned as a musical mecca, sure a few pubs put on regular music nights, but it’s not high on the list of places to play, but all that could be about to change, if the years first music at the hall gig is anything to judge by, a packed out venue of music fans of all ages just waiting to be entertained.

The hall itself ticked all the right boxes, decent stage, lighting and sound, well organised and just about the right size to have a dance and still feel intimate for those who wanted to remain seated.

By the time local band, Final Measure took to the stage the hall was already full of expectant music lovers and the young four-piece were not to disappoint. The four piece (expanded to six with guest singer and saxophonist) paid tribute to 60’s British Blues with a set littered with John Mayall covers and for a band of such tender years, it was remarkable how well they paid homage. As a four-piece the band performed muscular instrumentals before singer, Roxxi joined for a sterling rendition of Feeling Good (Nina Simone), the rest of  the band’s set was lapped up gleefully by the assembled masses and they left to rapturous applause.

Tonight’s blues performance was all about showcasing the various variations of the blues and the evenings second performer, Sunjay did just that, armed with just an acoustic guitar for company, his set moved from acoustic blues to folk and everything inbetween. Over the past year or so the likes of Radio Two (Sunjay was nominated for the young folk musician of the year award) and R2 Magazine have been clambering to sing Sunjay’s praises and with the likes of the stunning bluesy set opener, I Love You Like A Man it easy to see why this young musician is held in such high regard. During Sunjay’s set he regaled us with tall tales and a set of stripped down perfection, whether performing originals such as London Road or impassioned covers such as the brilliant encore rendition of Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love?. If you have even a passing interest in roots, folk or blues, I highly recommend catching Sunjay somewhere down the road, you won’t be disappointed.

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Tonight Doc Bowling & His Blues Professors were launching their new album Black Country Boy (reviewed elsewhere) and after watching the band I can only go to imagine how many of the audience left with the disc in their grubby mitts. The ever expandable band played their socks off and the audience soaked up the group’s infectious energy and responded in kind. From the opening number Let The Good Tines Roll, the gravelly voiced Doc grabbed the crowd in the palm of his hand, half way through the first number and the first dancers hit the floor, by the time the band ran through Shake Your Money Maker (Elmore James) the floor became a mass of jutting bodies.

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As Doc Bowling & The Blues Professors continued their set they moved from hard hitting blues complete with wailing harmonica to the fiddle led country blues of Look Into My Heart, from gravelly holler to heartfelt croon the versatile band effortlessly moved through the gears. A mesmeric run through blues standard St James Infirmary Blues saw violin, harmonica, saxophone and guitar flurries lifting the often performed blues staple to a new level, whilst Way Down In A Hole (Tom Waits theme music to The Wire) suited the good Doc’s vocals down to the ground.

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The band played into the night and still people shook and whooped in delight, until the very last chord. Bewdley had never witnessed anything like Doc Bowling & The Blues Professors before.

As an opening night of what promises to be a monthly regular music night at St George’s Hall, the organisers have set their standards at an incredibly high standard, it’ll be fun to see where they go from here.

Rhythm & Booze Rating 9

 

 

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