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Blues In Britain Magazine, Issue 153, September 2014

Live Review, 100 club, London, 29th July 2014

This regular slot showcases the breadth of the British blues scene with the best up-and-coming and established acts.  A half-full room (presumably due to the start of the holiday season) were treated to two bands at the top of their form with disparate takes on what constitutes blues. 

   The Jack J Hutchinson Band sit nearer the rock end of the spectrum........ 

   Having previously seen Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion without Si Genaro's harp and Pete Whittaker's keys, their presence added another level of sheen to an already polished outfit.  Blue Commotion evoke an era before hairy guitarists got their hands on the blues, from up-tempo Georgie Fame grooves on 'Take Me Back' and 'Too Darn Rich To Be Happy' to the soulful 'I Believe In You' with its short Bach-inspired organ break and Rob Koral's accomplished take-in-every-fret solo. Zoe's soaring vocals on that and on Tony Newley's 'Feeling Good' showed how well her voice suits slower number: silky and sophisticated, raw and forceful.   Lowell Fulson's 'Reconsider Baby' saw her perfectly project the anguish of the lyric, and was embellished with an expressive Larry Adler-style harp solo full of tremulous emotion from Si, while his squealing break on 'The Blues Don't Scare Me' and rapping on 'Come Home Sweet Baby' showed his versatility!

The organ-led 'Angel Of Mercy' was an intriguing preview of upcoming third album Exposed: hypnotic descending chords, Paul Robinson's rim-shot-and-ride-cymbal drumming and an extended prognostic organ solo suggests hints of Procul Harum, Focus and Metheny. 

  • Words by: Moray Stuart