Once again we journeyed to the wilderness of the moors and to the mouth of the Gothic harbor in Whitby. But, although it is the darkest month, we were not there to celebrate any nefarious hallows but, instead, to enjoy some quality blues in the wonderful setting of the Pavilion at WHITBY BLUES RHYTHM & ROCK Festival.
First on stage was DEEP BLUE SEA (formerly Little Devils) led by the band’s sensational vocalist Drega. Bassist Graeme wore an appropriately Gothic skeleton shirt whilst Iago on guitar and backing vox, provided moments of luminescence and Amanda on drums was uber-energetic. Their brand of soulful retro blues rock was cheerful and exuberant.
Many members of the audience went all the way the North Yorkshire moors to see just one band: CROW BLACK CHICKEN. The trio was moved to an early slot because they they were due to headline a show later in the day. Their riveting roots-based blues could easily have been born in the swamp (though it wasn’t — actually they’re from Clonmel/Cork Ireland, and ten years in the making… a bit like a good drop of Tullamore Irish dew.)
So their rhythms were like agricultural grinding wheels, the chuggy riffs were soaked in whiskey sour, the voice as dry as a reptile skin bleached by the sun and the drums like python heads. Their version of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Snake Farm” was charred-black and earthy.
Newport, Gwent guitarist and songwriter LUKE DOHERTY met Eric Clapton when he was 9 yrs old at the John Mayell 7Oth Birthday concert in Liverpool.
Now, the band with the haggard-looking Paul Morgan on gravel-edged vocals and harp, and with the flamboyant Mal Preest on bass, the LUKE DOHERTY outfit is as smooth and sophisticated as you can get. Their set was a blues-exercise in excitement with oodles of rugged charm.
Despite “curly lead” issues, the set was nevertheless a-buzz with sensation and completed with a fine rendition of “All Along the Watchtower.”
Buckinghamshire’s STORM WARNING [main photo] are one of the best contemporary blues rock bands in Britain with the Kris Kristoffersonish Stuart Son Maxwell on vocals & blues-harp and the very fine guitarist Bob Moore on lead.
And with a talented line-up that also included Ian Salisbury on characterful keys, they cranked up the style to bring enervating harmonica, slurry organ, chippy rhythms and gold-plated licks of guitar to some fantastic blues originals and a sprinkle of much-loved classics such as Otis Rush’s “Double Trouble.”
Also, on this fantastic festival line-up was Birmingham guitarist and songwriter IAN PARKER and headlining the event was the legendary, award-winning British guitarist, the finger-style wizard extraordinaire ALBERT LEE.
Thank you all in SOLID GOLD ENTERTAINMENT for another excellent day of guitar heroics, unmistakable talent and brilliant blues.