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 â€“ 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 â€“ a maturing songwriter, singer and of course, tremendous guitarist.
Opening up the evening were the Nantwich-based Big Blue House â€“ who delivered an entertaining hour of blues covers, warmly appreciated by the crowd. Highlights were the blues chestnuts â€œHoochie Coochie Manâ€ and â€œMessinâ€™ With The Kidâ€, and best of all, a lovely version of Robert Crayâ€™s â€œOld Loveâ€ â€“ best known for Eric Claptonâ€™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) â€“ and this gig was billed as a launch for their third album, â€œFade To Blackâ€ â€“ 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 â€“ with a brace of tunes from the â€œNatureâ€™s Most Wantedâ€ release standing out in the first set, the rousing â€œTexas Loveâ€ and the funky â€œGoing Crazyâ€, complete with lots of trademark Tommy Allen guitar fireworks!
Featured from the new release were the epic â€œFind You My Friendâ€ and the crowd favourite â€œBe The Bestâ€ â€“ both tunes with a rock edge, that will appeal to â€˜crossoverâ€™ fans of blues and rock.
The second set opened with Tommy letting rip on the classic â€œVoodoo Chileâ€, with Robert Johnsonâ€™s â€œWalking Bluesâ€ given a thorough electric going-over â€“ with the rocking â€œTalk To Me Babyâ€ featuring audience sing-a-long.
A series of well-merited encores opened with the beautiful â€œJust For Youâ€, followed by the classic soul of Ben E. Kingâ€™s â€œStand By Meâ€, before the show ended with the crowd-pleaser â€œMemphis Nightsâ€ â€“ with Barry Pethers and Craig Bacon taking extended solos to show what fine musicians they are!
This was a most enjoyable night to welcome Hookerâ€™s back home and hereâ€™s hoping their is many more fine gigs to come in the future!
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