Tuesday, 22 January 2013

OUT AND ABOUT WITH PAUL MAY: Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

We know how to deal with guitar virtuoso types here at Gonzo Daily. Do we just let them sit back and play magnificent guitar licks all day? We, most of the time, yes. However, other times we get them to sing or rather write for their supper. Paul May from the magnificent Atkins/May Project wrote us a great review of Evanescence last year, and when we heard he was going to see Jools Holland, we asked him very nicely for another one...

I saw Jools the previous year at the NIA,Birmingham. Unfortunately on that occasion the crowd were not in the mood for a “Christmas Party”! In fact it must have been very hard going for the band when performing at the NIA on that cold snowy night. However, I'm genuinely pleased to say that this was not the case at their recent Symphony Hall gig in Birmingham.

The venue was perfect them and the crowd and atmosphere was superb! On both gigs I was privileged enough to be on the front row so I managed to get a great feel and view of pretty much everything. Jools is no doubt a great boogie pianist, and his talents on the night certainly did not disappoint the enthusiastic crowd. The band consisted of Jools on piano (and guitar for a while) accompanied by female vocalists, Bass, Guitarist, five Saxophonists, three Trumpets and several Trombones. The brass section were excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed their chilled approach and their class when it was time to turn it on. Some great solos. The drummer, Gilson Lavis, (another former Squeeze member) was the bedrock of the band with super timing and was pretty kick ass to be fair.

Overall this was a great gig and venue for Jools and the band, and I'm actually pleased to say that the sound was “top dollar” too. Special guests this night were ʻFine Young Cannibalsʼ singer Roland Gift ..... who I hadnʼt particularly rated before this show ... but his professionalism was also top notch. The star of the show, however, was another guest, a lass known locally to me, namely Ruby Turner! She tore up the stage with an amazing presence and sang with that God given voice. She commanded everyone's attention, and had the biggest applause and ovation of the night and had an incredible reception ! And rightly so ... she was stunning!

In conclusion, it was great party atmosphere, especially during the festive season ... they finished with the Prince Buster/Specials  song “Enjoy Yourself” to be followed by more encores. A great feel good show that I actually thoroughly enjoyed.

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