Concert Review: Clare Free

The Claire Free Band – Lichfield Guildhall – Friday October 26th 2012

With a growing live reputation, and a few albums worth of strong material Claire Free and her well drilled band put on a sterling show, full of quality musicianship, and catchy songs when they played at the Guildhall.

Clare Free at The Guildhall Lichfield

Following her show stopping solo performance at this year’s Real Ale Jazz and Blues festival was no easy feat, but the strength of the material, and the band’s commitment carried away any doubts. The set featured many songs from the ensembles latest release ‘Dust and Bones’ as well as a number of well chosen covers. With a vocal style that takes from Janis Joplin, and any number of blues vocalists, and a guitar style that takes in many post-Hendrix players, as well as Freddie King, BB King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as styles such as slow, moody blues numbers, funk, rock, swing, jazz and psychedelic this was an action packed two hours.

Clare Free at The Guildhall Lichfield

With support from guitarist Matt Allen, Bassist Dave Evans and Drummer Pete Hedley, the band belied their youth with a display of musicianship that was more than a cut above the average, providing pin sharp musicianship and support, as well as being given the chance to show of their musical dexterity.

Clare Free at The Guildhall Lichfield

Starting with the title track from the latest release, with its moody intensity, the band changed gears with ‘Believe in Me’ with its rock sound, the blues funk of ‘She’s an Evil Woman’ or the covers of ‘The Thrill is gone’ or the high intensity set closer of ‘Treat your Daughter Mean’.

Clare Free at The Guildhall Lichfield

The second set started with a fine reading of ‘Funky Mama’s Kitchen Blues’ and featured many songs from the latest release, such as ‘Scars’, ‘Tempted’ ‘Little Miss Jealousy’ and the set closer of ‘Creepy’ which took in the wide sonic ground that exists between Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ and the improvised, psychedelia that was popular with Jazz Rock bands in the sixties and seventies.

Clare Free at The Guildhall Lichfield

An encore of ‘Leave my Little Girl Alone’ and ‘Pride and Joy’ was a fitting tip of the hat to one of the group’s obvious influences in Stevie Ray Vaughan, whilst ‘The Blues is my Business’ showed that the future of the genre is in safe hands with this talented band.

Review by: Ben Macnair

Clare Free at The Guildhall Lichfield

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