Review : The Stumble, Liverpool – 19 July 2006

Posted on: Friday, Jul 21, 2006

The Stumble at The Harbourside Club, Liverpool

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

It is a tribute to the Preston-based outfit The Stumble that, on a sweltering evening at the highly picturesque Liverpool Marina, their entrance on stage immediately triggered a mass exodus from the sun-drenched patio. The opening strains of “Hideaway” left no doubt that it wouldn’t be long before the heat of the performance would be even more intense than the outside temperature. Sax player, Simon Anthony, supplemented the starting quartet on the delivery of a slow blues instrumental before singer, Paul Melville, completed the line-up on a cracking version of “You Upset Me, Baby”.

The fast-moving first set comprised upbeat rockers, fast shuffles and out-and-out rock and roll, but the highlight was undoubtedly a stunning delivery of the slow blues, “All Over Again”, with fabulous vocals from Melville and superb solos from Colin Black on guitar and the aforementioned Simon Anthony. The closing number, “It’s A Lie”, was also brilliantly performed, smothered in distinctive echoes of Elmore James.

The second set opened with the excellent title track of the band’s recently released album, “The World Is Tough”. A varied programme of rumba-rhythmed, slow and rocking blues continued to delight the full-house audience before Paul Melville brought the house down with an incredible a capella rendition of Terence Trent D’arby’s “Sign Your Name”, for which he underpinned the rhythm with a coin and a pint glass. His vocal quality is sublime and a match for the very best of the current crop of British blues singers.

Lively performances of “Let The Good Times Roll” and “Leading Me On” and a tremendous version of “Gimme Back My Wig” brought the set to a breathtaking climax, showcasing in turn the considerable talents of Black, Anthony and Jon Spencer (on slide guitar). A fervently demanded two-number encore, featuring a belting delivery of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” and some upbeat swing, completed the marvellous proceedings. The Stumble has developed into an excellent band, with its exceptional singer and two brilliant instrumental soloists backed by the rock solid rhythm section of Jon Spencer on rhythm guitar, Boyd Tonner on drums and Dave Heath on bass guitar. They are now poised to conquer the rest of the UK from their North West stronghold.

Lionel Ross

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