Review: Down at Antones – The Academy, Buckley – 24 Oct 2009

Posted on: Wednesday, Oct 28, 2009


The Academy, Buckley: 24.10.09

The popular North West blues band, or to be more precise Chester/Wirral/Liverpool, Down at Antone’s, out doing the occasional gig with original frontmen Neil Partington and Ken Peace, played a rare North Wales gig, in the delightful surroundings of The Academy in Buckley – a beautiful old-style dance hall.

Apart from the afore-mentioned Neil Partington (guitar and vocals) and Ken Peace (harmonica), the rest of the band comprise Glen Lewis (keyboards), Steve Brown (bass) and Nick Lauro (drums). Two fine sets contained a sprinkling of blues, mixed up with some New Orleans flavours and some cool jazz grooves.

The band were down to business on Howlin’ Wolf’s “Riding In The Moonlight”, punctuated by Neil Partington’s superb ‘less is more’ guitar work and vocals, and Ken Peace’s big-toned harmonica. The band got funky on the timeless “Shakey Ground”, before slowing it down for Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Cross Your Heart”, with solos from Partington and Peace, and also keyboard man Glen Lewis.

The jazz standard “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” is a highlight of the band’s live show, with the Joe Zawinul penned tune seeing some lovely melodic harmonica from Ken Peace. The variety of the Down at Antone’s live show was illustrated by the rumba of “Poor Boy”, a jazzy shuffle on Lowell Fulson’s timeless “Reconsider Baby” and the Texas blues of The Fabulous Thunderbirds “Extra Jimmies”, which ended a most enjoyable first set.

The second set kicked off with a nice “Black Cat Bone”, followed by jazz guitar giant Kenny Burrell’s “Chitlins Con Carne”, which has just been added to the live set, before a chance for all the band to stretch out on Ray Charles “I Don’t Need No Doctor” . . . . great guitar and vocal again from Neil Partington, with the rhythm section of Steve Brown and Nick Lauro ‘in the pocket’ behind him.

Other treats in the second set included The Red Devils “Automatic” and another trip down to New Orleans for The Meters “Pocky Way”. The small, but enthusiastic crowd demanded more and were given the rocking “The Shape I’m In”, a Texas favourite from the pen of Bramhall/Bramhall/Benno . . . a great end to a fabulous night in lovely surroundings.


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