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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Matt Schofield Trio + Sam Hare @ The Cluny. November 23

(Review by Russell).
Matt Schofield is touring his latest CD Ten From the Road. Forever on the road, the three-times winner of Best Guitar in the British Blues Awards, is playing a select few dates in the UK before heading for Europe. This Newcastle gig, booked into Cluny 2, moved upstairs into the main room such was the demand for tickets.
Schofield’s friend Sam Hare (guitar & vocals) opened the show with a short acoustic set of original tunes and a Freddie King number. Hare, a first time visitor to Tyneside, went down well with the expectant crowd. The place was buzzing, the beer (Harviestoun’s Bitter and Twisted) flowed, this was anything but a Schmazz (jazz) gig - there was a big crowd in! A standing gig (no time for preening of beards), the keen at the front ready to give it up for their idol.
Matt Schofield (guitar & vocals), Jonny Henderson (Hammond C3) & Evan Jenkins (drums) took to the stage without ceremony and went on to tear the place apart. Electric blues gigs hold little interest these days for this reviewer (there is invariably too much rock and too little blues). Schofield is the exception. The instrumentation is key - Jonny Henderson’s Hammond (sixteen years with Schofield, no bass player required) and the trio’s original drummer Evan Jenkins is back in the fold, albeit temporarily for these few gigs (Jenkins is on a busman’s holiday from his day job with pianist Neil Cowley).
It was like old times. Smokin’ blues played with elan. Tunes old and new (they’re on the new album recorded live in Colchester and Brighton twelve months ago) flew by - Live Wire (feat. Jenkins’ New Orleans’ marching band groove), See Me Through, Ear to the Ground, Dont Know What I’d Do (feat. Henderson’s Texas shuffle), Dreaming of You, Shipwrecked (quoting Day Tripper) - all featuring Schofield’s commanding vocals and guitar. What a band. The tightest trio. Most of the greats are dead and gone but Matt Schofield knows Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray and Jimi but best of all Schofield is his own man, a real showman.       
Russell.

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