Review: The Backbones – Warrington – 28 Mar 2008

Posted on: Saturday, Apr 5, 2008

Blues gig in Warrington.

Warrington Blues Club: 28/03/08

After trying for some four years to bring the charismatic Big Pete – aka Pete van der Pluijm – over from Holland, he finally blew into Warrington, with his latest band, The Backbones, to deliver two storming sets of rousing blues, that was both traditional and yet with a modern edge as well.

After fronting the excellent band, The Strikes, Big Pete and his fine pool of musicians have backed many touring musicians in Europe, including the likes of Alex Schultz, Mitch Kashmar and ‘Monster’ Mike Welch, as well as being involved in the Lester Butler Tribute Band, which features our very own Matt Schofield – but more of him later!

Apart from Big Pete’s monster harmonica playing with its great tone, and his fine voice, the band comprised of the sparking guitar of Sander Kooiman and fellow Dutchman Joost Tazelaar on drums, with, wait for it, Matt Schofield guesting on bass, in the absence of regular member, Lord Julius, who had to return home to Holland on family business.

The two sets comprised mainly covers from blues giants – a mix of slow blues, mid-tempo shuffles, with some funky interludes. A great start saw the band tear through the late, great William Clarke’s “Blowin’ Like Hell”, with Big Pete featuring on the chromatic harmonica; followed by the rousing “I’m In Love With You, Baby”, from the repertoire of Otis Spann, with some lovely guitar work from Sander Kooiman – a top player indeed, from a seemingly endless list of current European six-stringers!

The tempo remained up for Jimmy Rogers “You’re The One”, before things quietened down with Big Pete going ‘walkabout’ on Sonny Boy Williamson’s “So Sad To Be Lonesome”, with a walk to the back of the room to visit promoter Ray O’Hare, and then switching from purely acoustic harmonica to picking up his microphone and playing amplified, great stuff indeed!

Other highlights on the night were a dip into the great Little Walter songbook with “Love Her With A Feeling”; the classic slow blues of “Early In The Morning”, and the funky “Tramp”, from West Coast master, Lowell Fulson – all played with bags of groove and energy, with the crowd loving every minute of it.

British guitar virtuoso Matt Schofield, a close friend of Big Pete, looked to be enjoying himself on four strings instead of six, and together with powerhouse drummer, Joost Tazelaar, powered the music along in fine style.

A great night ended with a well-deserved encore in the shape of a tune from another master of the blues harmonica, Junior Wells, “Come On In This House”, with proceedings finished with a full-blast shuffle and humble thanks from Big Pete to the lovely promoters, Ray and Barbara O’Hare – with hopefully a return visit on the cards!

The Backbones 

The Backbones?

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