Concert Review – The Climax Blues Band

Concert Review – The Climax Blues Band

Review by Ben Macnair

After more than thirty years of live on the road, in the recording studio, and on the live stage, it is not surprising that the Climax Blues Band know how to deliver a live show.

The six piece band have always been a popular draw in Lichfield, and this concert proved to be no different, with a sell out crowd turning up to support one of the most critically acclaimed ensembles on the live blues circuit.

Graham Dee

A lot of bands have one or two lead figures, and supporting musicians, but the Climax Blues Band experience is slightly different. Lead singer Graham Dee, saxophonist Chris ‘Beebe’ Aldridge, guitarist Lester Hunt. Keyboard player George Glover, and the hard working rhythm section of bassist Neil Simpson and drummer Roy Adams packed a lot of nuance and style into their two hours on stage. Although, much of their material is cover versions, with songs by such luminaries as Willie Dixon, and blues standards, such as Let The Good Times Roll featuring, their own original music, and the unison playing of lead guitar and saxophone sets them apart from the competition.

George Glover

They started the set with a firm favourite, Willie Dixon’s Seventh Son a jazz,funk workout for the band, whilst Down in Louisiana was a swampy blues number, with a danceable beat. Fool for the Bright Lights was a far more modern sounding funk number, whilst the musicians showed of their blues credentials during the slow, mournful So Many Roads which featured virtuoso soloing, and a star turn from Chris Aldridge. The guitar and vocals of Lester Hunt lead a stripped down band through the medium tempo of Going Back to Georgia whilst the Willie Dixon’s I’m Ready finished the first half in good style.

Chris Beebe Aldridge

The second half offered only seven more songs, but they were packed full of action, from the long form version of Spoonful, removed from the famed Cream version, and a sad reminder about the death of Jack Bruce, but still a worthwhile version, whilst another Willie Dixon song Little Red Rooster was also a different version to any the audience may have heard before, but the fun atmospherics of Wang Dang Doodle added some levity to proceedings. Their best known, and only charting song Couldn’t Get It Right turned into a mass sing-along for the audience, whilst the jazz funk, of Heading Towards the Sun, replete with harmony guitar,keyboards and sax led into the set closer of Let the Good times Roll. The encore of Going to New York was a fine end to a concert that packed serious intent, talent and hard won experience into the music of the eternal Saturday night.

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