Review: David Raphael Band – BJ’s at Hop Pocket, Chorley – 11 Aug 2011

Posted on: Sunday, Aug 28, 2011

The David Raphael Band

BJ’s Blues at the Hop Pocket, Chorley

11 Aug 2011

The Hop Pocket on Carr Lane Chorley – BJ’s Blues Club – the number one venue for live music – presented by music guru Lucas Campbell.

On 11 Aug 2011, BJ’s hosted the debut gig of a band from the Southeast of England – The David Raphael Band….

The  band is very well known in its own back yard, but as David said – “It’s time to spread our wings and play more gigs up in the North”.

The band gave a high energy, blistering  performance.  Blues, Rhythm and Blues and a reggae number were all played with professionalism throughout the entire gig which was pacey and sharp.  No rest for the wicked here!  David on the blues harp, and electric organ, made the harp talk – correction, scream and wail.  He was christened the HARP MEISTER while they were on tour in Finland recently.  On top of the harp, he sang as well.  Put simply – very engaging indeed.

David has known lead guitarist and vocalist Nick Hyde for approximately 20 years.  Neil is a co-founder of the band.  Nick shared the lead vocal role.  Back and forth it went between these two great musicians.  Nick’s guitar playing dexterity was not of this planet, he made it look so simple playing his riffs and licks, but when he strapped on his favorite guitar called …SUSAN…he made her tingle with pleasure and put a smile on her face, as he also did to the packed crowd who lapped it up.  With his cheeky banter he is a class act in showmanship. Fantastic stuff!

Next we come to the rhythm section and I always make the point that if your rhythm section is spot on then everything else falls in to place, this was the case here without exception.  Part of the two musicians who had this task and drove the band on was a magnificent bassist by the name of Steve Browning.
Steve has been playing the bass now for some time, and has played with the likes of  PRETTY THINGS and KHALIF WAILIN’ WALTER.  He has recorded and gigged with RONNIE SPECTOR and DAVID GILMOUR, and in June, with the US band,  IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY, headliners at the Isle of Wight Festival.  Steve is known for his bass sound that was rich and wholesome like freshly baked bread smothered in your favourite spread. Delicious!

Next up, as they say, on the drums was the one and only Bernie Fox.  Bernie only joined the band this year but fitted in perfectly.  But you can when you have toured with  SHERMAN ROBERTSON and recorded with ERIC BIBB and also JIMMY RUSHING.  Need I say more?  Bernie had a cracking snare drum, sounding like a whip: his cymbal play was clever and cunningly executed.  A faultless demonstration on drumming.  Sensational!

This band took no prisoners and were wrapped up in the vibe that is BJ’s.  The crowd asked for encore encore and the band obliged.  It would have been a late night for these guys as they were travelling back down to the Southeast after the gig, but it didn’t seem to matter one bit – the band played on.  What a marvellous gig.  I hope they return…. soon.

My thanks as always  to Lucas Campbell, who just keeps pulling these bands out of the bag week in week out.  Terrific!  You have my respect my friend.

Keith Blackledge

Music Reviewer for the Northwest.

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