Review: Hans Theessink + Mark Koehorst at the Harbourside Club, Liverpool Marina – 26 Sep 2007
Posted on: Thursday, Oct 11, 2007
[Apologies for the lateness of this review – Lionel]
The first gig of the autumn season at the Harbourside Club offered two Dutch masters for the price of one. Mark Koehorst (above right), better known as the lead singer/guitarist of locally-based blues band Giles, opened the show with a sparkling acoustic set. A couple of slow and bluesy originals were separated by a fine delivery of “Stop Breaking Down” and followed by a fast-moving original, featuring some impressive fingering. The brief but highly entertaining set was concluded with “Dancing With Dolores”, the excellent title track of the latest Giles album and a terrific rendition of “Shake Your Hips”.
Hans Theessink headlined the event with two wonderful sets, combining spectacular guitar playing with deep mellow vocals, occasional rack harp and a constant flow of warm and humorous chat. His declared admiration for Big Bill Broonzy was underlined by his starting with “Key To The Highway” and a tribute in the form of “Big Bill’s Guitar”. There was a marvellous version of “St James Infirmary Blues”, which included an innovative diversion through “Greensleeves”, and some 12-string magic to accompany “Blind Willie” and “Bourgeois Blues”. Then there was “Slow Train”, the title track of Hans’s latest album – but it has to be said that the audience fell mightily short of the standard set by the Zimbabwean trio on the recorded version. The first set ended with a heartfelt composition written the day after the Katrina-induced devastation of New Orleans, with poignant echoes of “Little Liza Jane”.
The fabulous second set ranged widely across the blues spectrum with the swinging “Love Sweet Love”, the foot-tapping “Diddy Wah Diddy”, a slow blues and a belting rendition of Rufus Thomas’s “Walkin’ The Dog”. The set concluded with “Freight Train Blues” and a very different, but very enjoyable version of “Maybelline”, topped, as encores, by another helping of 12-string virtuosity on Mississippi John Hurt’s “Avalon, My Home Town” and the ever-popular “Statesboro Blues”.
It was yet another memorable evening at the Harbourside, with Mark Koehorst demonstrating his considerable talent as a solo artiste and Hans Theessink reinforcing what we already knew – that he is a world-class acoustic bluesman.
[photographs by Stuart F Steele]