Re: Mike Zito
28th April 2018 - Hartlepool Supporters.
Ideally this should go down on a thread, RUF Blues Caravan 2018, but I never started one when it was announced, so it’ll have to live on here.
You know, this is going to be an “event” when it rolls into town, but you can square that when it includes Mike Zito and the town is Hartlepool on a Saturday night. So anticipated by Tommy’s now “spoilt” clientele that they were queuing before the doors opened, and the venue was packed-out by the kick-off time of 8:30. They knew the Mr Zito was bringing along a couple of friends, RUF ingénue, Sweden’s Vanja Sky as well as his good friend Bernard Allison along with a back line that comprised of Mario…(?) on drums and our own Roger Innes on 6-string bass.
The review got off to a roaring start with the three leads firing out Luther Allison standard Low Down & Dirty by way of introduction before Mike & Bernard left the stage for Vanja to do her piece which included a spiky working over of Rory Gallagher’s Bad Penny; title track of her RUF debut album before being joined on stage by Mike Zito who produced the same, to provide some tasteful backing for a slow, ballad number.
Vanja then left the stage to Mike, who also acted as a sort of compere through the evening, to do his thing, which included three powerful tracks from his new album, First Class Life including a Bobby Bland cover, I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog…, a quick revisit to Make Blues Not War, before he was joined on stage by Bernard Allison who accompanied Mike on the album version of Mama Don’t Like No Wah-Wah.
That set up for a short interlude after which Bernard came on solo for the first number and took the Blues back up to Chicago. Another number or two from his new album was then followed by a full-on 10 minute Chicago take on Voodoo Chile. Then Bernard was joined on stage by Mike Zito for the main thrust of the evening, to pay tribute to Bernard’s late father, Luther Allison on the 20th year of his passing. (Don’t know why they kept saying they were “celebrating” his death; I know I’ve a couple of ex’s on whose grave I’d gladly dance; but to say that of your father…) Anyway, they launched into Luther’s Bad News Blues and traded solos, then licks and finally a “conversation” on guitars which eventually included Roger on bass: Mario on drums was also included. For me, this became a bit of a flat spot; clever & funny idea at first, but dragged the song on for almost 15 minutes and wore thin. However, things perked back up as Vanja re-joined the boys and took the lead on another of Luther’s songs Life’s A #@$@#.
That was about when I took my exit, but if the sound-check was anything to go by, the night would have closed with a thunderous Going Down.