Review: The Oli Brown Band at The Fletcher Christian, Cockermouth: 27 April 2008
Posted on: Thursday, May 1, 2008
The early Sunday evening gigs arranged by Alan Hewitt at The Fletcher Christian in Cockermouth are consistently well-supported. On this occasion, the regular, local punters were also supplemented by a substantial contingent from Maryport to cram the premises to full capacity. On the down side, the expectant mood was soon dampened by a serious fault in the band’s PA system. On the other hand, it was very much to the credit of the band that they rose above that dilemma with exemplary calmness and good humour, which was eventually rewarded with effective repairs to the failing equipment.
Norfolk’s Oli Brown is understandingly being hailed by an increasing coterie of fans and established performers as one of the brightest young stars in the British blues firmament. His vocal capacity is still developing but his guitar work is extremely impressive. The band’s first set comprised an interesting array of material, which included a James Brown number, Freddy King’s “Big Legged Woman” and some self-penned reflections on love gone cold.
The second set opened with an instrumental that allowed all three members of the band the opportunity to showcase their talent, with blistering riffs from Oli, brilliant dexterity from Fred Hollis on six-stringed bass guitar and fine drumming from Simon Dring. The set also featured excellent versions of “Every Day I Get The Blues” and “Going Down” and ended in rocking style with a number that segued seamlessly in and out of “Oh, Black Betty”.
The high esteem in which Oli Brown is held is exemplified by the appearances that he has already made or is about to fulfil with an impressive list of artistes that include Buddy Guy, John Mayall, Jon Cleary and Robben Ford. He has also been signed by Ruf Records. In addition to his undoubted ability, he also displays a warm personality and a refreshing line in self-deprecation. A flourishing future surely beckons.