Review: The Stumble @ Lichfield Guildhall

The blues is a musical form which comes in various different styles, and this was illustrated to fine effect when a near capacity audience turned up to see The Stumble at Lichfield Guildhall.

The popular band had sterling support from The Foregate Street Blues Band, whose commanding stage presence and fine musical instincts kept the audience enraptured during their short acoustic set.

The three piece of David Bristow, Darren Mather and Andy Dent, playing two guitars and harmonica, provided a fine line of their own music, as well as songs from such luminaries as Robert Johnson.

Songs such as Easy Going Mama and That’s The Blues blended jazzy syncopation with a foot stomping beat.

The main attraction of the evening though were The Stumble, who played a rousing near 100 minute set of their own songs and pieces from the soul, blues and rock repertoire.

The Stumble performing at Lichfield Guildhall. Pic: Dave Jones

The Stumble performing at Lichfield Guildhall. Pic: Dave Jones

With vocalist Paul Melville, guitarists Colin Black and Ant Scapens, saxophonist Simon Anthony Dixon, drummer and songwriter Boyd Tonnor and bassist Cameron Sweetnam, the band meant serious business from their first notes.

Three new songs opened the set, with Just Stop and The Story of New Orleans being particularly strong, blending no nonsense rhythms, with guitar and saxophone solos.

The soul ballad side of the group’s sound was shown during such songs as Under Your Command, while they played a rousing You Upset Me Baby as a tribute to the much missed BB King.

All Over was a slow and brooding exercise in intensity, giving the vocals of Paul Melville a solid workout, before the first set closer of This is My Life started off as a slow ballad, before a coda that ramped of the song’s intensity and speed.

The second set featured many of the group’s older material, with the slide guitar driven Lie to Me and the brooding The World is Tough opening the set.

Heat of the Night was another new song that featured some strong harmony guitar, while Evening was a showcase for the talents of Simon Anthony Dixon. Retro surf guitar featured in Only You, before the concert was finished with Sam Cooke’s Bring it All Home To Me, a song which played to the band’s strengths of musical integrity and giving the audience a good night out.