6th October - Hartlepool Supporters
Don’t know what it is about Tommy and Hartlepool; a few years ago (different venue but same town), they were the first in the UK to book Ryan McGarvey and the rest, as they say, ....... This Saturday, I got the same sort of feeling once RHR took to the stage for their first, proper gig as a band; this could be the start of something big, very big. Each of the three fronts have great bands in their own rights and any of these band could have loosened the foundations of the Supporter’s Club, but such was the chemistry between them, the shook the whole town, if not half the county.
I suppose, when you look at it on paper, Troy Redfern and Jack Hutchinson [for me] booked ended 2017 with the year’s best Blues/Rock albums; too close to call it between them, and Mike Ross crashed back onto the scene slightly earlier with the magnificent Spindrift album and this year’s Jenny’s Place - (more to be said later). So the potential was always there, at least for a damn good jam; however, as a working project it would either be spectacularly brilliant or spectacularly disastrous. It was absolutely brilliant, at least the equal of the first incarnation of Royal Southern Brotherhood, but without the after-taste of Grits. I doubt that the project set out with that sort of purpose, to do a RSB or Supersonic Blues Machine, or just to have a bloody good time, but Boy, they were cooking.
The set was the entire Mahogany Drift album, plus one each from solo, and a roarlin’ rollickin’ Frank Zappa closer. So first up was Mike Ross with She Painted The Moon, Mike & jack setting up a rolling riff which Troy sliced through with searing slide, then Jack stepped forward with Rapture, lead being swapped between him & Mike, while again, Troy treaded through with slide. For his lead, Judgement Day, Troy set out the rhythm on his old National Steel while Mike & Jack took turns on the lead. That was pretty much the pattern for the show, no one main lead and no one style dominated. Being objective looking back, the openers were a little hesitant until after the “fun piece” instrumental Mahogany Drift (done as one, slight variation from the album where it’s two pieces), where Mike sets up the riff, passes it on to Jack who puts his spin on it before handing over to Troy who does the same before passing it back down to Mike before they have a free-for-all with it. The next three numbers, Ross’s Ghost Hound Rider, Refdfern’s Satisfied and Hutchinson’s Solemn Song really just saw the band take off, the interplay between them was just so smooth, the only pauses being for the changes of guitar (nearly as many between them as a Bonamassa gig), at one point the stage was three Les Pauls abreast, each soaring: Strats, Telecaster, SGs, Slivertone - just guitar heaven with the heap of vintage amps behind. Holler, an electric Leviathan (slight change to the acoustic album version) and driving Miles Away closed the main set before each did a short number from their “day job” bands. If that wasn’t enough, Hartlepool took off when they announced final/encore song, from Zappa’s Hot Rats album - Willie The Pimp.
Solemn Song - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WRjBAlqcWU
Some bands, like the Allmans or Skynyrd went for multiple guitars by design, but for three, respected solo players to meet up and find that they have such a complimentary combined effect has to be rare, very rare and yet like RSB, it’s happened again, but this time in the UK. I just have this feeling that I’ve been one of the 120 or so, not the 5000 who'll claim later to have been lucky enough to be in at the start of something I feel is going to roll and be big; take a punt at the following, and see if I’m right:-
20th Oct - Mid Wales Blues Club
23rd Oct - Tuesday Night Music Club; Surrey
25th Oct - Oxford Haven Club
27th Oct - Meeting Room; Elland
All those who believe in psychokenesis raise my hand........