Review: Stomp and Holler @ Lichfield Guildhall

With a good time rock and roll sound, exemplary musicianship, and a broad-minded attitude, the six-piece Stomp and Holler played their last gig to an appreciative audience when they appeared at the Guildhall.

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The group blended guitar pyrotechnics, a full-time brass section, virtuoso keyboard and accordion playing, and a hard working rhythm section into a concert that included jazz, funk, rock, blues, Cajun and New Orleans, with an eye on a danceable beat.

Led by the vocalist/trumpet player Oliver Carpenter, Dave Carroll on guitar and vocals, and Phil Bond on keyboards, accordion and vocals, the rest of the band featured the saxophonist and flute player John Sanderson, bassist Frank Walker and Martin Ball on drums and percusssion.

It would have been easy for a band with so many musicians to use the concert as a showcase in virtuosity, but a distinct lack of ego and some strong songwriting meant that this was overcome.

The set was largely their own material, but also included some choice covers, such as the spine-tingling version of St James’s Infirmary.

The original Beasts of The Southern Wild was a song of stirring, brooding music, and showcased Dave Carroll’s slide guitar work. Crazy Up In Here was a fine set opener, with a dance focussed beat and singalong chorus.

The first set closed with Why’s It Always Me? which showed the band’s appreciation of Cajun music and Phil Bond’s fiery accordion playing.

The second set had more a feel-good mood to it, with many in the audience out on the dancefloor.

Lonesome Town was a brooding song of longing, while Original Sin was a fast boogie number with a message. The set closer Evangaline saw Oliver Carpenter and John Sanderson walking around the audience, their tight unison playing suiting the mood of the music perfectly.

This was a fine night of music from some talented performers and writers – and a very fitting swansong to their playing career.

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