Standing ovation for band

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THE lean, raw spirit of the blues runs through the core of this Hull quartet, who had Sunday’s full house in the palm of their hand.

Playing tracks by Hendrix, Clapton, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Stevie Winwood and others, plus a few of their own compositions, this well-seasoned bunch showed how it’s done.

As one of the many local musicians in the audience observed, they were fantastic.

Les Nicol, who has a musical pedigree as long as his arm, must be one of the finest blues guitarists to grace the Tap stage.

But he stands to one side, with Gary O’Neal on bass and Brian Gadie on Hammond organ on the other side, making the mesmerising Jon Dawson the primary focal point in the middle. I haven’t seen a drummer play with such passion, conviction and precision for a long time. He was fully integrated with the rest of the band, who played as one powerful harmonised unit.

There was nothing showy or egotistical, no histrionics, no exaggerated expressions; just solid electric blues played as professionally as it comes.

They were playing for the fun of it, and what fun it was. The pub could have been empty, and it was a rehearsal, and they were playing for their own pleasure. But the Tap was full on both sides of the bar and everyone was lapping it up.

I’m now a fully signed up member of the Nicol Blues Band fan club and can’t wait for their next local gigs.

They will be back at the Tap on 17 July and 6 November; at Cellars on 9 July and 26 November; and possibly the Black Lion.