Concert Review The Climax Blues Band

Concert Review The Climax Blues Band – Lichfield Guildhall – Friday 22nd April 2016

Reviewed by Ben Macnair with photos by Dave Jones

The popular Climax Blues Band drew a near capacity audience to Lichfield Guildhall, when they played there on April 22nd.

The group, which in various guises has been together for more than thirty years played a very well received set that blended their usual repertoire of jump jive, blues, and soul songs with new songs from their forthcoming album.

The Climax Blues Band

Led by charismatic frontman and singer Graham Dee, with saxophonist Chris ‘beebe’ Aldridge, keyboard player George Glover, and melodic guitar virtuoso, Lester Hunt, the band had an unfailing, pin-sharp backing from bassist Neil Simpson, and drummer Roy Adams, in a set that blended authoritive jazz, and blues soloing with a beat that got most of the toes in the audience tapping.

The Climax Blues Band

The band played songs by the likes of Willie Dixon, with the staple of Seventh Son opening the first set, with its funk back beat framing the lead vocals, whilst Down in Louisiana was another fine up-beat rocker which combined some deft soloing and shifting dynamics in the rhythm section. Their own Fool for the Bright Lights was a showcase for the fiery Hammond Organ of George Glover, whilst Lester Hunt was allowed to shine his light as a singer and band-leader during Going Back to Georgia.

The Climax Blues Band

Many new songs featured during the second set, with Seventeenth Street Canal being a highlight, with the Soprano Saxophone of Chris Aldridge featuring heavily, and showing the direction that the band may be taken. Other songs featured, such as Willie Dixon’s Spoonful, which was given a far faster, and sprightly reading by the band, than the many bands, such as Cream that have covered in the past. The tempo was lifted as the set progressed, with their best known song, Couldn’t get it Right, being given a slower, more mournful introduction, whilst Let the Good Times Roll featured both bass and drum solos that were well received by the audience. The encore of Heading towards the Sun was a lively, complicated song, full of fine musical details and ensemble playing of the highest order, which showed both their musical pedigree and ability to reach an audience who wanted to hear the music of the eternal Saturday night.

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