Review: The Armadillos – BBs Blues at Alexander’s, Chester – 12 May 2011
Posted on: Saturday, May 21, 2011
BBs Blues Club at Alexander’s, Rufus Court, Chester
12 May 2011
The latest BBs Blues Club gig at Alexander’s featured the fine Manchester-based four-piece, The Armadillos . . not really a blues band, but with blues content during the two sets, and a mix of western swing, country and Tex Mex, to make for a most enjoyable evening, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the hardy few present.
The band comprise of Greg Walker (guitar, steel guitar and vocals), Tony Callaghan (keyboards, guitar and vocals), Andy Levey (bass) and Ian Gibbon (drums and vocals) . . . all seasoned campaigners who as well as being fine players, like to have some fun, with some cracking between-song banter.
They kicked off with a swing through T-Bone Walker’s immortal “T-Bone Shuffle”, with Greg Walker soloing on both electric and steel guitar; and followed it with some western swing on a rousing “Shotgun Boogie”, before returning to the blues for a run through Big Bill Broonzy’s “Get My Hands On It”. The excellent “Desert Skies” was a highlight of the evening, with some dreamy Peter Green-flavoured guitar work from Walker.
Other gems delivered in the first set was a fine cover of JJ Cale’s “Call Me The Breeze”, more steel guitar fireworks on the very old “Steel Guitar Rag”, and to round off a romp through the Louisiana swamp stomper “You Ain’t Nothing But Fine”, an oft-covered song probably best known for versions by The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Rockpile.
The second set opener was some more blues on the shuffle of “Too Hot To Handle”, and another personal favourite, the wry country tune, “All My Ex’s Live In Texas” . . . the George Strait tune which hails from the 80s . . . with the great line . . . . “that’s why I live in Tennessee”, to counteract the title line.
Perhaps the craziest offering of the night was the band’s interpretation of Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side” . . . the classic being dished up with a skanking reggae groove, before visiting Booker T & The MG’s “Time Is Tight”, and then returning to the afore-mentioned song . . . . great fun indeed.
This was a most enjoyable night, with the band’s musical versatility and harmony vocals adding to their appeal, well done to The Armadillos for soldiering on and showing their professionalism with so few in the room . . . the ones who stayed away were certainly the losers!