Review : Trafficker – Hookers Blues Club – 11 Feb 2006

Posted on: Monday, Feb 13, 2006

Grahame Rhodes submitted this review….

Trafficker & Big Blue House
Hooker Blues Club at Wrexham Rugby Club: 11.02.06

After over two years away Hooker Blues Club returned to their spiritual home at the refurbished Wrexham Rugby Club – and it perhaps was fitting that the first gig back featured as headliners Trafficker, who played the last gig at the club back in December 2003.

The splendid downstairs bar was packed with a mix of regulars, many of whom never took to the venue at NEWI, and new fans drawn by the fast-rising trio, Trafficker, led by the multi-talented Tommy Allen – a maturing songwriter, singer and of course, tremendous guitarist.

Opening up the evening were the Nantwich-based Big Blue House – who delivered an entertaining hour of blues covers, warmly appreciated by the crowd. Highlights were the blues chestnuts “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Messin’ With The Kid”, and best of all, a lovely version of Robert Cray’s “Old Love” – best known for Eric Clapton’s cover.

The current Trafficker, now a superbly tight trio, apart from Tommy Allen, feature the rhythm section of Barry Pethers (bass) and Craig Bacon (drums) – and this gig was billed as a launch for their third album, “Fade To Black” – which sees a move away from the blues to a more rock-flavoured sound.

Two great sets featured a mix of old and new songs and some choice covers – with a brace of tunes from the “Nature’s Most Wanted” release standing out in the first set, the rousing “Texas Love” and the funky “Going Crazy”, complete with lots of trademark Tommy Allen guitar fireworks!

Featured from the new release were the epic “Find You My Friend” and the crowd favourite “Be The Best” – both tunes with a rock edge, that will appeal to ‘crossover’ fans of blues and rock.

The second set opened with Tommy letting rip on the classic “Voodoo Chile”, with Robert Johnson’s “Walking Blues” given a thorough electric going-over – with the rocking “Talk To Me Baby” featuring audience sing-a-long.

A series of well-merited encores opened with the beautiful “Just For You”, followed by the classic soul of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”, before the show ended with the crowd-pleaser “Memphis Nights” – with Barry Pethers and Craig Bacon taking extended solos to show what fine musicians they are!

This was a most enjoyable night to welcome Hooker’s back home and here’s hoping their is many more fine gigs to come in the future!


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