It’s not just the 300+ years of experience they have between them, nor the experience of playing with the greatest blues musicians in the world; Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, you name them, that keeps these OAPs filling out theatres and touring the world.
After renown slide-guitarist Dave Kelly missed the sound check due to traffic in Cannock Chase on Friday night (October 20, 2017), it could be thought that was going to set the agenda for the rest of the night, but apart from the occasional feedback issue in the first half, the Blues Band didn’t put a foot wrong.
As the band came out to a rumbling applause, frontman Paul Jones gazed across the sea of silver haired fans in the audience who had obviously dressed to the nines for the occasion.
Jones eyed the audience from right to left, as if to say something, only to be broken by the chugging guitar of Tom McGuinness before going into their first song.
The experience of Kelly’s slide-guitar intertwining with the rhythm laid down by McGuinness could be appreciated by all music lovers.
Like being transformed back to the 1960s Jones’ story telling like performance transferred every feeling from every lyric directly to the audience. If blues is done right, every line should have its own agenda, its own background story bursting to get out, and filled with exceptional harmonica playing he certainly delivered.
After the somewhat interminable songs from the individual solo albums were over, the band got back to their core with the crowd favourite “Flatfoot Sam” where a three-minute harmonica solo carrying the lung capacity of a killer whale left the crowd in awe.
Good crowd interaction and age-based jokes kept everyone entertained, moving in unison to the songs like a well-trained rowing team which by the end could be heard in full voice repeating the words.
So what is it that keeps these guys stomping through gig after gig? Their love of the blues. There could have been three or 300 people at the Prince of Wales Theatre and the performance would have been the same.
Whilst the blues popularity is slowly on the rise with young bands constantly breaking through, it’s always nice to know some of the golden-oldies are still filling out venues with a performance to back it.