SugarDaddies Blues Party
Very much at home in the snug charm of the Somerville arms, the Blues Party sits comfortably between a classy blues gig and a flexible session.
To get started, the house band, Adrian, Stephen and Richard, collectively covering bass, guitar, harmonica and keys, offer up bold, stylish treatments of blues classics such as It should have been me and Ice man. Then the band expands with guests, bringing contrasting styles to guitar, vocals and harmonica to material as diverse as Need your love so bad and Crazy.
What could be nicer than a fun night in a cosy pub, lively and spontaneous with a relaxed vibe and a warm welcome to guest players?
All blues - SugarDaddies' Blues Revue at the Zephyr
How many shades of blue can you imagine? From the cool tints of gospel to the bold hues of R&B, In the moment's blues revue lit up the full spectrum.
Firstly, let's be clear that 'revue' thing is more than just fancy marketing. It turns out to be an effective performance format that keeps things interesting by matching a lively house band, the SugarDaddies, to a diverse group of local all-star guests, Neol Davies from the seminal ska lineup Selecter, Letitia George, Mark Steeds from Boperator and Stephen Steinhaus notorious for his role in Doctor Teeth fame.
Here's how it worked out. First off, there was fire in the engine room of the rhythm section with Richard Westwood lively and incisive on the drums, Adrian Litvinoff adding an elegant jazz pulse on the electric and standup bass, and Mark steeds digging in with gorgeous rolling piano. And how can you speak the language of the blues without the grit and grind of the electric guitar?. We had Steve Roberts working his iconic cherry 330 with crisp purposeful chord work and focused, toneful solos in his distinctive country-influenced melodic style. As a bonus, we also heard some lyrical lead lines from Neol Davies, a man with a sound all his own while demonstrating a clear respect to the legacy of Peter Green and the Three Kings. For an extra touch of class, we heard some warm, resonant sax from Dave (Dr. Sax) Roberts. Finally, building on this potent foundation, we enjoyed five distinctive vocal styles: the relaxed bluesy delivery of Steve, the R&B exuberance of Mark, the passionate powerhouse soul of Letitia, the warm emotive charm of Neol, and, finally, the bold Chicago drama of Stein.Highlights for me included an exuberant version of That's Life, a slinky Fool for your Stockings, a heartfelt Box of Blues, and, as encore, a sweetly soulful version of the classic Need your love so bad.
Finally, a word for the Zephyr Lounge sound guy. Music as subtle as this deserves to be heard and the sound in the auditorium was clear and beautifully mixed. Credit too to In the Moment for promoting quality jazz and blues around Leamington.
So yes, a fine night, joyful, wistful,and raucous by turn, but authentically, all blues.