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Blueswater Presents: Blues! ★★★★★
Edinburgh theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Venue 53)
Until Saturday 27th August 2016.
A vibrant run through the history of the blues in the company of a really talented 12-piece band. It was solid gold from start to finish.
This review begins with a conversation after seeing Blueswater Presents: Cat Loud's Wayward Girls earlier in the week (Review:LINK). It was suggested that as fans of the blues we would love the big show too. It proved to be an excellent suggestion.
The large stage is clearly set for a big band but the show starts with a single musician. Just like the blues, we are told, it started simply and acoustically with tales about life in the Southern United States. Based upon a style that had come across from Western Africa, one of the first big stars was Louis Jordan. A brass and rhythm section arrive on stage and we are given the treat that is Caldonia.
As the story of the blues develops, it goes electric and the sound gets bigger and so does the size of the group on stage. For each song we are given little interesting anecdotes, such as what Little Richard was on about at the start of Tutti Fruitti. The song choice isn’t always “the obvious one” either. So for the start of rock n roll, yes we have an Elvis song, but it is Too Much For You rather one of his bgger later hits. There is a look at British Blues with the Yardbirds, and to female heroes such as Bonnie Raitt. Modern blues is covered too with the music of Sean Costello.
Tying up each song is a little about how it fits in with blues as a whole and often a fun fact. This isn’t just a gig, it is also a wonderful story too. Good use is made of the 3 vocalists. The guitars, brass section and keyboards have a real blues soul. The rhythm section is also very tight. The grand finale, John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom, is a loud, fitting, celebration of the genre.
Blues! is a wonderful story laced with classic, well performed hits that show off the talents of some fabulous musicians. Well worth queuing for and the show comes highly recommended. Right now, I’m off to check out some of Sean Costello’s records.
This review was written by Stephen Oliver the North East Theatre Guide – follow Stephen at @panic_c_button
Tickets cost £10 (£9 conc) and are available from the venue box office, the usual Edinburgh Fringe outlets and online from https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/blueswater-presents-blues