Concert Review: The Climax Blues Band – April 2018

Review by Ben Macnair

A near-capacity Easter Sunday crowd saw one of the sharpest, and longest serving blues bands on the national circuit, when the Climax Blues Band performed at Lichfield Guildhall as part of their Fiftieth anniversary tour.

The Climax Blues Band

The six piece band of 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 style, nuance and musical sophistication into a set that took in everything from the blues, jazz, rock, funk and some classic cover songs by Willie Dixon.

The Climax Blues Band

They also had some new songs and arrangements which were well received by the audience. They started of with Willie Dixon’s Seventh Son, before a rock back-beat led the charge through Muddy Waters’ Louisianna Blues, with some sharp riffing from Lester Hunt, whilst the high energy level was maintained during the original Fool for the Lights. Chasing Change was a light funk workout whilst a new song, Seventeenth Street Canal showed the band were capable of tackling slower, more melodic songs.

The Climax Blues Band

The second half was started with another reworked Willie Dixon song, Spoonful, a full band arrangement replacing the more skeletal and minimalism of the original, whilst the minor chord blues of Last Chance Saloon allowed Graham Dee to show the full emotive range of his vocal, and some fine playing on guitar and saxophone.

The Climax Blues Band

Ain’t That a Kick in the Head was a funk workout for all of the players, whilst Hard Luck was another slow blues, and another new song Wrong Man, Wrong Time, Wrong Place had only its second live outing, but more than deserved its place in the set-list. A gospel Hammond organ part introduced the group’s biggest hit, Couldn’t get it Right, which saw many in the audience take to the dancefloor.

The Climax Blues Band

Climax Blues Band

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