Review: The Honeyboy Hickling Band at Buckley Academy: 18 October 2008
Posted on: Monday, Oct 20, 2008
This was the second gig staged at Buckley Academy by Warrington RnB Club organisers, Ray and Barbara O’Hare, following the great success of the first gig featuring Big Boy Bloater. Sadly, the occasion wasn’t blessed with a similarly large crowd, despite the appearance of one of the country’s best entertainers. Nevertheless, Simon Hickling and his band gave their all, as they always do, whatever the size of the crowd.
The first set bristled with the well-tried mix of shuffles, slow blues and bouncing rockers, which included a generous portion of original compositions. The Honeyboy was on customary good form, providing a sequence of delights on harmonica to supplement his warmly delivered vocals. Bob Wilson played some wonderful guitar licks – those in relation to a slow blues being particularly well received. And keeping everything in place, drummer Tony Baylis and bass guitarist Frank Walker were unfailingly consistent.
The second set effortlessly maintained the party atmosphere. Respite from the largely upbeat programme was provided by a superb performance of Charlie Musselwhite’s “Christo Redemptor” and a fine version of “The Wee Wee Hours” before the onslaught was continued with another selection of foot-tapping favourites, which saw the dance area increasingly occupied. “That’s Alright” and “Mystery Train” evoked the usual enthusiastic response before “Bright Lights, Big City” brought the proceedings to an all-too-quick conclusion. It was an evening graced with top class musicianship, genuine warmth of character and tasteful humour – priceless.