Review: Ian Siegal – Warrington – 30 May 2008

Posted on: Monday, Jun 2, 2008

Warrington R&B Club, at Warrington Town FC: 30 May 2008

Somewhat of a coup for Ray and Barbara O’Hare this, the return of probably the most-heralded British blues artist of the last few years, in the intimate surroundings of the Warrington R&B Club, with the lucky patrons treated to a quite storming evening of well over two hours of not just blues – but a whole mix of genres, from rockabilly to country, with rock and soul thrown in for good measure!

Ian Siegal and his superb rhythm section of over ten years – Andy Graham (bass) and Nikolaj Bjerre (drums) – form a most potent trio, and in a show full of surprises showed why they are in such demand. Siegal’s ferocious Howling Wolf meets Tom Waits voice has been well documented, but his guitar playing is also of the top calibre. He was content to let his songs from “Meat & Potatoes” and “Swagger” take a back seat and filled the two sets with some most unexpected covers.

The first half-hour illustrated what a playful mood he was in – starting with the Bo Diddley beat of “Ride On Josephine”, before going into Howling Wolf’s “Meet Me At The Bottom”, then some Tom Waits and Bob Dylan, before his own “Mortal Coil Shuffle” – the slide-dominated version off “Swagger”, being turned into a slow blues with some fiery soloing from Siegal and his vintage guitar.

After a relatively short first set and a lengthy break Ian Siegal returned acoustic and solo with a lovely take on Steve Earle’s “My Old Friend The Blues” – another acoustic tune was followed by the return of the band, and another treat, the late, great Warren Zevon’s “Carmelita” – proclaimed as Ian Siegal’s ‘favourite song of all time’ – praise indeed!

The packed house were loving every second and the show moved up a gear with the opening brace of songs from “Meat & Potatoes” – the strutting swagger of “Sugar Rush” and the dark “Revelator (John The Apostle)”, before a real Creedence-flavoured version of “Horse Dream”, which visited Tony Joe White’s classic “Polk Salad Annie” – great stuff!

The midnight hour turned and the band were called back to the stage twice – the first set of encores included the traditional “I Shall Not Be Moved” – dedicated to Swedish nurses (don’t ask!), before developing into another off-the-cuff medley including “Freight Train”, “Mystery Train” and “That’s Alright Mama” – the breathless band were then coaxed back from the car park to conclude a magnificent evening with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, played Luther Allison style, as it was the song the late blues guitar legend always ended his shows with.

A genre-busting show from possibly the most potent performer on the circuit, with a fine band – Ian Siegal plays with so much passion and enjoys every minute of what he does, which results in evenings of maximum enjoyment. Long may he and his fine band keep doing it – the fact that most of it seemed spontaneous helped – no rigid set lists and no thought of plugging albums!


Note from Ken – 01 June 2008

There are some great pictures from the event from the excellent photographer Paul Webster.  Go to Paul’s Flickr site to see them.

Not recorded at the Warrington gig, but for a fair representation of the band in all their glory check out the many YouTubes.



June 4th, 2008 at 21:48
Permalink this comment


Cracking review, Grahame. Sounds like a great night. Also pleased to hear that Ray and Barb got a good turnout. Couln’t be there myself owing to other commitments.