Review: Phil Bates – Harbourside Club, Liverpool
Posted on: Monday, Oct 30, 2006
Amid a busy schedule of gigs with Bev Bevanâ€™s Move and regular appearances in Germany as a member of a trio, we were delighted that Phil Bates could squeeze in a solo performance at the Harbourside Club last Wednesday. In contrast to his more usual ensemble playing, Phil donned another hat to deliver a programme of blues and blues-related material in acoustic mode.
His own jazzy and laid back â€œHouse Of Bluesâ€ set the tone for the evening. Another original composition that graced the first set was the African-rhythmed instrumental â€œTownship Touristâ€, which preceded a magical version of Jimi Hendrixâ€™s â€œThe Wind Cried Maryâ€, boasting beautifully played, intricate guitar work and fabulous vocals. There was another self-penned number, â€œThe Worldâ€™s Gone Crazyâ€, which combined clever lyrics with a driving beat, before the set was concluded with the high-speed instrumental â€œBroken Fingersâ€, appropriately described as Celtic punk.
The second set incorporated a tribute to the music of the Beatles. There was a marvellous version of â€œSheâ€™s A Womanâ€, with more tremendous artistry on guitar, and a wonderfully innovative, instrumental medley, which included â€œI Wanna Hold Your Handâ€, â€œShe Loves Youâ€ and Norwegian Woodâ€. There was a Keb Mo number and a superb rendition of Frankie Millerâ€™s â€œJealousyâ€ before the set ended all too soon with the Rolling Stones favourite â€œThis Could Be The Last Timeâ€ and Bo Diddleyâ€™s â€œBefore You Accuse Meâ€. Just before that, the original â€œWait For The Sh*t To Hit The Fanâ€ encouraged the punters to conquer their inhibitions and shout the offending word in collective response. Was it my imagination that the female voices significantly outshouted the male ones?
It was another splendid show that fully maintained the exceptionally high standard promoted by John Welsh at the Harbourside. Phil Bates exudes talent, combining great vocal quality with brilliant musicianship, warmly presented in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. We are already looking forward to his return.