Saturday, 15 February 2014

Concert Review: Ultimate Rhythm And Blues, St David's Hall, Cardiff

It’s so easy for critics to write off bands whose heyday was back in the 60s. Golden oldie rock n roll tours featuring solo singers and the few remnants of band members that have continued to play venues in the UK and abroad can be critiqued before they’ve even stepped on the stage for not retaining the original band members,

But let’s face it, there are few acts that were around in the late 1990s that still retain all or any of their members, so let’s brush all this musical snobbery aside when reviewing The Ultimate Rhythm and Blues Show which visited Cardiff’s St David’s Hall on January 31.

Each act had their origins firmly in the 1960s and certainly could have kept the audience entertained with a show of their own for two and a half hours, but The Ultimate Rhythm and Blues show ensured each act had an opportunity to deliver the very best of material.

Animals and Friends featuring original Animals drummer John Steel and 60s keyboard player Mickey Gallagher kicked off the evening with a set comprising classics such as Don’t let Me Be Misunderstood and Baby Let Me Take You Home. Lead vocalist Pete Barton did an impeccable job of recreating vocals originally put down by Eric Burdon back in the 60s.

Animals and Friends also provided accompaniment for solo stars Dave Berry and Maggie Bell in their slots.

Berry (standing in for Spencer Davis) is a familiar face on such tours and always provides an eclectic and entertaining set, this was no exception with renditions of JJ Cale’s Cajun Moon and his own big hit The Crying Game. Similarly Maggie Bell formerly of Stone The Crows treat fans to renditions of Erma Franklin’s I’d Rather Go Blind and the duet Hold Me with Pete Barton.

The second half brought even further treats kicking off with The Yardbirds featuring original 60s drummer Jim McCarthy and Eric Clapton’s predecessor Top Topham.

It was the inclusion of the bands younger members however that displayed why The Yardbirds are still a live band to savour. Guitarists Ben King and Dave Smale tore through tracks such as Heart Full of Soul and Shapes of Things with passion and energy while vocalist and harmonica player Andy Mitchell was the perfect front man who clearly was having a blast on bongo drums for the rendition of For Your Love.

The Zombies featuring Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent brought the evening to an incredible close with a set list featuring a backbone of Zombies Classics including Time Of The Season and She’s Not There as well as Argents own Hold Your Head Up and Blunstone’s I Don’t Believe In Miracles all guaranteed to have the audience out of their seats and joining in.

Ultimate Rhythm and Blues was certainly no exaggeration.

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