Review : Chris Spedding – Birkenhead – 21 Nov

Posted on: Saturday, Nov 25, 2006

Pacific Road Arts Centre, Birkenhead: 21/11/06

This was one of the long-awaited gigs at this year’s International Guitar Festival of Great Britain, as the British guitarist with the longest cv in recording, Chris Spedding, made a rare British solo appearance at Pacific Road, in the company of Mark Davies on bass and the great former Roxy Music drummer, Paul Thompson.

Chris Spedding has graced  recordings by such people as John Cale, Roy Harper and Brian Eno to name but a few, and has worked extensively with Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music, whilst also releasing solo work since 1971.

However, this was a strange show – he and the trio rattled through about twenty songs – nothing longer than about three minutes – with barely more than a muttered ‘thank you’ to the audience. It may be that his years as a ‘hired gun’ means that he is a reluctant front man, but it was easy to get the impression that Spedding was just eager to get things over and done with!

Moan over, he still provided some brilliant rocking guitar on a set drawing from his brush with the singles charts and some vintage covers, including Johnny Allen’s rousing “The Promised Land:, the evergreen “Wild Thing” and Johnny Kidd’s “Shakin’ All Over”.

He kicked off with “Wild In The Street” from his “Hurt” album, with “Silver Bullet” from the same recording also featuring. His two big singles – “Motorbikin'” and “Guitar Jamboree” ended the show, with the latter giving Spedding a chance to show off his Albert King, Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix licks!

He was coaxed back (just!) for a solitary encore of “Summertime Blues”, which rounded off a somewhat bizarre night – maybe the seated audience meant everybody was just a little too relaxed for a rock ‘n’ roll show!

Opening up the show were local boys, Flynn’s Piece – John Witherspoon (vocals, rhythm guitar and piano), Alex Griffiths (lead guitar), Richie Lawler (bass, backing vocals) and Nick Blair (drums) – the band’s big hooks and big guitars provided an enjoyable 45 minutes of melodic rock. Influences seem to be the likes of U2 and Coldplay, and it was nice to see young talent given a chance on the big stage of Pacific Road.


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