Jump Jive, Blues, Boogie Woogie and a good time were the order of the day when Lichfield Arts opened their 2010 Blues season with the critically acclaimed Red Stripe Band.
The band, led by keyboard player and singer Red Stripe (a former accountant), also featured singer Gemma Nelson, a strong rhythm section of drummer Ed Williams and bassist Costa Tancredi, and a brass section of Erica Clarke and Martin Grey.
As well as covers of music from the 1930’s to the 1950’s, they also played a number of upbeat instrumentals and a couple of their own numbers.
Pieces such as Booker T and the MG’s Soul Limbo were played with a slickness of approach, whilst songs such as their own Shake Shake, Boom Boom, You Got What You Wanted and You’re Mine sat easily alongside such well known songs as Jerry Lee Lewis’ Great Balls of Fire and Little Richard’s Good Golly Miss Molly. Slower songs, such as Tu Vuo Fa L Americano helped to add new colours to the band’s pallete.
Tequilla with its catchy brass refrain saw Red Stripe taking up a 1980’s Keytar, and the rest of the band walking among the audience, and although this may have been more suitable behaviour for a summer festival, it helped to add to the good time nature of the gig.
Although the group played as a unit, there was still time for good solos in many of the songs, with Red Stripe and Tenor Saxophonist Martin Grey being particularly impressive.
Although the audience was relatively small, the professionalism of the group shone through, and the grandeur of the Guildhall helped with a strong opening to Lichfield Arts new season.