Review : Simon Hickling at Harbourside Club, Liverpool, Tuesday 24th January 2006

Posted on: Saturday, Jan 28, 2006

Thanks very much to Lionel for sending me the review below.

Simon Honeyboy Hickling and the DTs at the Harbourside Club, Liverpool, Tuesday 24th January 2006

This was the second event arranged by John Welsh at the Harbourside Club at Liverpool Marina, following the great success of the Ben Andrews gig in November last year. The measure of the popularity of Simon Hickling and his band was eloquently demonstrated by the full house that had the venue bursting at the seams. Needless to say, the enthusiastic anticipation of the audience was more than met by another vibrant performance by this superb quartet from the Midlands.

Two brilliant sets combined original masterpieces with a range of covers, including a sprinkling of instrumental numbers, notably Little Walter’s “Juke” and Freddy King’s “The Stumble” – the latter affording guitarist Bob Wilson the opportunity to demonstrate his tremendous technique. Other favourites, delivered with customary panache, were the slow blues, “One Room Country Shack”, Canned Heat’s “Goin’ Up The Country” and “Never Rains, It Pours”.

Three numbers into the second set, local singer/guitarist/actor Ozzy Yue entered the fray to add his considerable guitarmanship to the mix and took the vocals on “Help Me”, which emerged surreptitiously and unannounced from a fine rendition of “Green Onions”. However, the highlights of the show were still to come. First, there were stunning versions of “That’s Alright” and “Mystery Train”, with the peerless rhythm section of Tony Baylis (drums) and Tony Stuart (bass guitar) and guitarist Bob Wilson providing a tremendous foundation for Simon Hickling’s outstanding virtuosity. Finally, the performance of “Big Train”, complete with a mind-blowing solo harp introduction, brought the house down.

Had time permitted, the two-number encore could have gone on forever as far as the audience was concerned. The consolation for the non-fulfilment of that vain but understandable wish was that they could now eagerly look forward to the appearance at the Harbourside of the brilliant Little Toby Walker on 8th March.

Lionel Ross

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