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Durham Blues Fest

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We at Sedgefield are running a bus/taxi/ford Fiesta depending on numbers to this years event.

http://www.durhambluesfestival.co.uk/

     
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Quite a busy little weekend at Cleethorpes and Durham. Did my networking no end of good and came back with a few names on my shopping list. Loads of pics on my Sedgefield Blues Club facebook page!

     
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Didn’t get to Durham, so curious as to how the Gala worked out as venue for the festival. I’m guessing the Acoustic stage was down in the cinema?

My eyes and ears tell me that Albany Down could have used a longer set, Chantel was “spangly” as ever and that Ron Sayer Jr. was “on fire” (good news for next Friday….). Dr. Feelgood were brilliant but generally not impressed by John Lee Hooker Jr. - too much ramblin’ between songs.

     

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Well, like Tilerman’s Scarborough Secret Blues thread, this one’s also kept “timeless”, but it’s about time to shout about this year’s [2015] line-up which is coming together nicely.

Main stage:          Acoustic Café
Aynsley Lister          Gary Grainger
The Brew                             Starvin’ Sid
Larry Miller                           Jack J Hutchinson
Erja Lyytinen                         Gary “the slide guy” Smith
Red Butler                             Mike Wyatt
                                        Alex McKown

All this at Durham Gala Theatre June 20th & Cleethorpes Pleasure Island on 21st June.

     

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Durham Blues @ Gala Theatre 18th June
The line-up looks this, so maybe heading for a sell-out…...
Main stage:- King King; Connie Lush & her band; Laurence Jones; Albany Down; Billy Walton Band; Blues Boy Kings; Southdown
Acoustic Café:- Howlin’ Matt; Richard Townend; Lucy Zirins; Ged Wilson; Michael Woods; Yoka & Big Ray

Doors - 1:30pm:  start 2:00pm

     

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June 17th 2017 - Durham Gala Theatre..

On the hottest Saturday of the year so far, Durham Gala theatre threw open its doors once again for the Solid Entertainments 7th Durham Blues festival and the music on offer inside matched the heat outside.

Kicking things off, from North of The Border were Glasgow’s Brian Rawson Band, delivering a gritty, raw set much in the tradition of Big George. Belfast born Brian has an impressive CV as guitarist and benefits well with former GT’s Boos Band vocalist Greig Taylor with his gravelly, soulful voice.  Bassist Jim Carr and the relatively youthful Calum Wilson make up a strong backline. Unfortunately, their set was marred for me by a poor sound mix that had the bass too far up – I don’t think I’ve heard that much dominant bass level since the likes of UK Decay and early 1980s Goth; it even carried out into the venue atrium.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfWiBVNGk9c

Next up were the band who were the surprise of my previous Durham Blues in 2015; Red Butler; so this was to be an excellent litmus test as to how far they’ve come on over those two years, especially with the line-up change with Dan now on vocals after Jane leaving the band. Well, the sound gremlin seemed to have been partially sorted; Mike’s bass was at the correct level though to my ear Alex’s guitar was a little low also, which is a shame as the testarossa is one of the best in this new, rising generation of guitarists. Opening their set with the appropriately slow burning Calm Before The Storm, the lads kept switching up through the gears, dropping in a Thin Lizzy cover as well as Bobby Blue Bland’s Ain’t No Love…. through to their own rocking romp Big Bad Wolf . And come their set closer; Show Me The Money, the guys were in overdive and still had the energy for their signature human “guitar-pillar” as well as a walk in the audience; leads permitting. One things is certain, since their last appearance here they’ve certainly grown in all areas and with Dan on lead, something has definitely clicked into place, so it’s onwards and upwards for Red Butler.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaNjs10wwe4

Bringing in Blues legitimacy and a more traditional Blues sound, Debbie Bond took the stage next, with sideman keyboardist Rick Asherson. Traditional, but the usual; Debbie takes her sound and inspiration not from Mississippi but from Alabama with strong influence from Willie King & Johnny Shines.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivXno3ChOMg

Take 4 parts Soul; 2 parts Blues, 1 part Gospel and 1 part Jazz and then end result is the cool, smooth Kyla Brox. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to be in the same place at the same time as Kyla & her band but it has been well worth the wait. Working mainly round her most recent album,  Throw Away Your Blues, Kyla delivered a perfectly judged set of sublime torch songs and jumping r’n’b matching the sultry early summer’s evening. Great stage presence, even better audience rapport Kyla even broke from the set list to take on a crowd favourite and have to agree, the Sam Cooke was a better choice than the Leonard Cohen, but had there been time for both…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwzV7L9linE

From the coolest sounds, to the coolest guy; Aynsleys return to Durham Gala and really good to report that it seems he’s back to full strength (don’t need any wrist gizmo to confirm that…) It was obvious that from the opening bars of the crackin’ All Of Your Love Aynsley & the band were out to give Durham a good time and to have one themselves even as they romped through Inside Out. Judging from the speed Boneto dashed off and back on the stage the sound gremlin looked like he was threatening to raise his head at the start of Il Grande Mafioso, but he was chased off for the rest of the set. Great bass spot in Hyde 2612 for Steve Amadeo and Andy making his presence felt throughout this was another superb 60 minute showcase for Aynsley who just makes it look so effortless but I bet the gizmo told another story.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOA7Volj7kY

Closing the show, the legend that is Dr Feelgood. Can’t take anything away from them, but even with their current line-up outlasting the original band in their heyday, to me it’s more like seeing the practice nurse than the actual doctor; however such is their standing, I’m probably the only guy at Durham who thought that. Anyway, that’s when I called it a day, though not before a quick peek upstairs at Husky Tones, doing something rootsy.

Turn out for the day, I’d estimate peaked around 550.

     

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