Review: Rev Doc and The Congregation at Fogherty’s Function Room, Liverpool – 5 October 2012

Posted on: Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012

Rev Doc

Rev Doc and The Congregation at Fogherty’s Function Room, Liverpool – 5 October 2012

Among the many delights enjoyed by those attending John and Lorraine Welsh’s Liverpool-based blues gigs in 2011, the appearance of Rev Doc and The Congregation at Liverpool Marina was right up in the top echelon. It was no surprise therefore that Fogherty’s Function Room was packed out for their eagerly-awaited return to the city.

Now celebrating their twentieth year on the road, the band delivered two vibrant sets of Chicago-style blues with guitarist Al Brown opening the batting with a jazzy instrumental, immaculately backed by the top class rhythm section of Al Thompson on bass guitar and Davie B on drums. The Doc then made his customary strolling entrance to deliver “Blackbird Blues”, which was followed by a couple of Little Walter numbers. “Killing Blues” was graced with some lovely mellow harp from the Doc and a superb guitar solo from Al Brown before an upbeat rocker and a slow blues led the way to a cracking rendition of Son Seals’s “Don’t Fool With My Baby”. “Matchbox Blues” was then the prelude to Rev Doc’s brilliant interpretation of “Parchman Farm” to end the set in spectacular fashion.

At the start of the second set, another superbly played instrumental by Al Brown set the scene for Howling Wolf’s slow and moody “Moanin’ At Midnight”, which was immediately contrasted by a bouncing performance of “Bright Lights, Big City”. “Poor Boy” gave way to “Friday The 13th”, which featured another magical guitar solo and a peripatetic acoustic harp interlude before “Rockinitis”, magnificently driven by Davie B and Al Thompson, raised the roof. The party was brought to a climax by Doc in solo mode with an inspirational delivery of “Gypsy Wind”, followed finally by “Boneyard Man” in response to a deafening demand for an encore to complete a wonderful evening of superlative musicianship and charismatic artistry. Roll on the celebration of the band’s twenty first birthday in 2013.

LIONEL ROSS

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