Since forming in 1968, The Climax Blues Band have been one of the most hard-working bands on the circuit.

The Climax Blues Band
The Climax Blues Band

Famed for their lively shows, incendiary musicianship, sounds that blend melodicism with technique, and an eye for a solid groove, their near-capacity show at the Guildhall – their first for 18 months – showed why they have earned their reputation.

With Dan Nichols on guitar, replacing the indisposed Lester Hunt, the line up of George Glover on keyboards, drummer Roy Adams, vocalist Graham Dee, bassist Neil Simpson, and saxophonist Chris Aldridge played a lively energetic set of their best-known material, some choice covers and a new song that bravely served as an encore.

The set kicked off with three very lively tracks, Straight Down the Middle, Fool For The Bright Lights and Down In Louisiana, all played with aplomb. Any problems that might have been caused by a year and a half of live inactivity were not obvious.

Slower song 17th Street Canal showed a different side to the band’s creativity, while set-closer, Willie Dixon’s classic blues number Spoonful allowed for some exciting playing from the ensemble.

Ain’t that a Kick in the Head? opened the second half, before the melodic, softer ballad Out of Time became a lesson in minimalism and dynamic build.

The bluesy Hard Luck featured some strong guitar and saxophone playing, while the band’s best-known song, Couldn’t Get It Right, started as a slower gospel number for Hammond organ and vocals, before the familiar catchy refrain and the rest of the band showed why it was such a popular piece.

The long-form Wrong Place, Wrong Time finished the set and the new number Through the Lens received its live premiere at the end of the concert.

Even after more than 50 years as a live and recording ensemble, The Climax Blues Band are not satisfied to rest on their laurels, delivering new music and brilliant live experiences for their loyal and growing audiences.