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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jumpin’ Hot Club stage @ Summertyne Americana Festival. July 20

(Review by Russell).
The weather forecast for Sunday afternoon at this year’s Americana Festival was so much better than Saturday’s rain-interrupted affair. Noon. A dog day afternoon - hot, humid, an expanse of blue sky over Sage Gateshead. Folding tables and chairs, picnic baskets, rugs, a chuck wagon to feed a Confederate platoon and beer a-plenty to wash it all down.
The pick of the day’s action scheduled at either end of the day suggested a split shift visit to the pub was in the offing for your Bebop Spoken Here correspondent. Fickle Lilly are a busy band gigging around the north east. Making a return visit to Gateshead, their early start (and early finish) enabled them to head north to play a set later in the afternoon at a blues festival in Wooler. 
Fickle Lilly are all about goodtime rock ‘n’ roll. Sheila Robson (vocals) led the five piece band in an energetic, entertaining set. Guitarist Ally Lee engaged in banter with the audience (Performance Square was packed from the off), making clear his love of pies (his ample frame a give-away). Piano, bass and drums (Gordon Hall, Steve Martin and George Waters) laid the foundations on a quick-fire set of tunes including Colin James’ Rocket to the Moon and JD McPherson’s Dimes for Nickels. The band blazed a trail on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Love Struck Baby and Robson sang about a subject few of us knew anything about…When I Get Drunk.
The first of two eagerly anticipated sets featured an appearance by Dan Blues Boy Owen. A Sunday morning four hour drive from Shrewsbury is nothing to a travelling, gigging bluesman. Owen, twenty two years old, is a one man blues band. He brought with him two acoustic guitars, a harmonica and a stomp box (foot beat box). The high bar stool he sat on perhaps made the journey with him. Owen’s amplified stomping was of such precision it is likely the bar stool is akin to a custom made item, integral to his performance. An accomplished guitarist, Owen possesses a fantastic, big blues voice. He used it on Walking Blues, Forget Me When I’m Gone, Little Red Rooster, Willie Nelson’s Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die and a couple of Bob Dylan numbers – Girl From the North Country and to finish his set, Ballad of Hollis Brown. The crowd rose to its feet, affording a standing ovation to the man from Shrewsbury. Dan Owen is a remarkable young musician. If you run a blues club, book him. You won’t regret it.
To end the day on the Jumpin’ Hot Club stage, an end-of-tour gig by Davina and the Vagabonds had a celebratory end-of-term feel to it. Bandleader Davina Sowers couldn’t recall how long the band had been on tour in Europe – clearly it was time for them to head home to America! Her five piece band ripped into two original numbers – Black Cloud and from their latest CD, Sunshine – before the ebullient Sowers pronounced that the show would be a rollercoaster revue of one hundred years of Americana. I’ve Found a New Baby (the brass section hot, hot, hot), Ain’t That a Shame, Bourbon Street Parade, all delivered with street brass pizzazz (Ben Link trombone and Andrew Burns double bass relentless with their Big Easy grooves) . No time to pause for breath – Chuck Berry’s Back to Memphis maintained the unforgiving pace. The members of Sowers’ band could have stepped out of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra’s sections, so good were they. Drummer Connor McCrae Hammergren took it down with a sweet vocal on You’re Just in Love. Daniel Eikmeier took the vocals and a superb trumpet solo on a blazing Shake That Thing. Sowers obliged a request with St Michael Vs the Devil. The highlight of the weekend (in fact a serious contender for performance of the year) heard Sowers sing a spine-tingling I’d Rather Go Blind. Massive vocals, a festival crowd silenced, what a star! A crazy St James Infirmary brought the show to a close. Every Stetson stood, an epic ovation hailed Davina and the Vagabonds. What a way to end their European tour! What a way to end Summertyne Americana 2014! The Stetsons wouldn’t let them leave just yet…More! More! Back they came and the dancing Stetsons took home Bill Bailey.          
Russell.         

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