Review: Hamilton Loomis at Liverpool Marina: 1 May 2008

Posted on: Friday, May 2, 2008

When you are as talented as singer/guitarist Hamilton Loomis, the young blues star from Galveston, Texas, you deserve to be supported by the very best of musicians. No problem there then, as on his current UK tour he has brought together a band to die for. His rhythm section comprises two outstanding British maestros: Roger Innis on bass guitar and Jamie Little on drums. The icing on the cake is provided by a master saxophonist, Stratton Doyle from Louisiana.

The full-house audience was floored in the very first round by an upbeat, funky instrumental that gave graphic notice of the delights to follow. “Best Worst Day” was one of several numbers from Hamilton’s latest album, Ain’t Just Temporary, as was the excellent ballad, “Legendary”. “What It is” allowed Loomis to demonstrate his prowess on harmonica, while the funky “No, No, No” demonstrated his admiration for Stevie Wonder. The slowish “You’ve Got To Wait” was followed by the heavier beat of “Voodoo Doll”, which featured some fabulous duelling between Loomis and Doyle on guitar and sax respectively. The first set was concluded in slow and bluesy mood with Hamilton making his first migration from the stage onto the nearest table top, much to the delight of the enthralled assembly.

The second set opened with a jazz-tinged instrumental and a lively shuffle before a truly vibrant delivery of “Slow Lover”, which saw Doyle switching between sax and keyboard and Loomis between guitar and harp. “Bow Wow” reintroduced a heavier beat and featured another tremendous guitar solo while Roger Innis went walkies in the background. A funky mood was never far below the surface and it returned with a vengeance for “Take A Number”, on which Innis provided an unbelievable cameo on bass guitar, Stratton Doyle delivered a fantastic exposition of saxophony and Jamie Little gave a glimpse of his undoubted ability without falling into the trap of over-indulgence, which so often blights drum solos.

Two loudly demanded encores prompted a second peripatetic romp across the tables to complete an evening of superlative entertainment. It really doesn’t get any better than this and the premier league must now be beckoning: and that is undoubtedly where Hamilton Loomis belongs.

Lionel Ross

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