Blues festival a huge success

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Review by Damian Mason

Blues Festival

Cask and Stephen Joseph Theatre

AFTER months of careful planning, Scarborough Blues Club presented its first festival.

Tremendous credit is due to all the volunteer staff.

A major thank you is due to Mark Horsley for running the club so efficiently and bringing so many leading, award-winning bands together.

The festival began on Thursday night at the Cask with a multitude of top local musicians guesting with the resident Tom Townsend Blues Band.

A full house had an enjoyable evening listening to four sets of classy songs. Friday night’s crowded house were entertained by the Stefan Ward Band and the indomitable Blueflies.

SWB played an excellent set, as did the Blueflies, even though guitarist Miles Gilderdale had a cold. Saturday night brought the return of the Ian Parker Trio, plus joint headliners 24 Pesos. Parker was on superb form singing songs with connotations of the cotton fields of Mississippi.

Chris Eaton played perfect slide guitar, while Steve Amadeo held it all together with precision double-bass rhythms. 24 Pesos’ highly infectious brand of blues was a real crowd pleaser.

They sounded better with each song and will be highly recommended by everyone who saw them. Sunday saw the culmination of many months of negotiations, with the final session at the SJT. What a venue! Spacious, comfortable seating, a first-class restaurant and a sound system second to none.

After each of the main acts played in the round, everyone went into the restaurant area to listen to the Tom Townsend Blues Band and others, and have a drink and a bite to eat, whilst the next band sound-checked out of earshot. The Krissy Matthews Band provided the perfect start to a very rewarding round of performances. Their brand of blues rock was the ideal vehicle to get the crowd buzzing for the next act.

This was the Guy Tortora Band who played some amazing songs.

 Alan Nimmo’s King King were next to grace the stage and had the audience in ecstasy with their blues-rock songs.

The audience were compelled to sing Feels Like Rain before Alan played the hauntingly beautiful Old Love.

The penultimate band, Hokie Joint, played modern Colchester blues. Fronted by Jojo Burgess, they soon made their presence felt, playing songs from their forthcoming CD.

Last, but not least, were headline act Never the Bride. They played melodic rock songs and were slightly reminiscent of Canadian band Heart.

The charismatic Nikki Lamborn dominated the performance with her powerful, searing vocals, ably supported by Catherine Feeney on keyboards. Songs like 2 Into 1, Everywhere and Don’t Trudge Mud were given a huge cheer, as was Feel Like Making Love, their only cover.

Miles Gilderdale, MC for the day, brought the evening to a close with many deserved tributes for everyone who contributed.