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Two bands gave a masterclass in blues, rock and funk playing when Devlin Blue and King King appeared at Lichfield Guildhall.
Lincoln-based Devlin Blue had the unenviable task of warming up the Sunday night audience, and took to the task with aplomb.
The three piece of guitarist Dave Devlin, bassist Sam Varlow and drummer Craig Richards played a set that ranged from the country blues riff of Drive Myself Insane, with its infectious beat and catchy guitar and bass, to the blues rock of Running. There was also the metal/funk strains of Innocent Look, while the long instrumental part that opened Sex and Blues showed that this is a band who understand the foundations of the blues.
King King last appeared at the Guildhall in 2010 and have grown, developed and broadened their palettes of sounds and styles since then, playing music from their recent album, Standing in the Shadows.
The group, led by the charismatic, kilt-wearing Alan Nimmo, also featured keyboard player Robert Fleshman, and a tight, dynamic rhythm section of bass player Lynsey Coulson and drummer Wayne Proctor.
They played an hour and a half set that featured strains of funk, blues, rock and jazz, with each player providing strong contributions.
They started with the blues of I Can Tell and a jazz/swing arrangement of Little Town which featured a Hammond organ solo of inventive flourishes and sounds.
The rock funk of Don’t You Get The Feeling You’ve Been Had gave way to the ballad A Long History of Love which was a long song, full of delicate harmony vocals, and sensitive solos and some fine drum and bass parts, while One More Time Around was a song of good times with a good beat.
Jealousy was a rare cover, originally by Frankie Miller. It gifted a fine vocal performance from Nimmo and allowed him to show of the gravel filled side of his voice.
Six in the Morning lifted the mood again, while All Your Life showed that the group still had plenty of ideas, but they had saved the best until last. A cover of Eric Clapton’s Old Love was one of those performances that audiences remember. It contained some fine soloing from the keyboards, but the delicate, touch guitar playing during the first solo was so good, that a pin-dropping could have made more sound. Nimmo, and the rest of the group took the volume down so low, that there were times that the guitar was not even amplified and the solos could still be heard.
The standing ovation that the song received at its end was a testament to the quality of playing and musicianship that were on display.
An encore of Mr Highwayman featured a feel-good groove and musical ideas from any number of songs. It was a fine way to finish this night of blues music, provided by two fine bands of the genre.
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