Review: Big Pete Blues Band at Liverpool Marina – 18th April 2013

Posted on: Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013

Big Pete Blues Band at Liverpool Marina – 18th April 2013

Pieter ‘Big Pete’ van der Pluijm returned to one of his favourite venues to delight a gathering of some of his biggest fans. Backed by guitarist Sander Kooiman, drummer Willie Maes and bass guitarist Roelof Klyn, the Dutch harpmeister was in sparkling form and delivered a top class programme of Chicago blues.

The band opened with Frank Frost’s “Back Scratcher”, a smouldering slow burner, shuffled on with “You’re The One” and posted a splendid version of Junior Wells’s “Come On In This House”. Howling Wolf’s “Rockin’ Daddy” paved the way for Billy Boy Arnold’s “She Fooled Me” before the pace was eased with the slow blues “Just To Be With You”, which was embellished with a fabulous guitar solo that even eclipsed the gems that had already been enjoyed. The first set was concluded with another helping of Junior Wells in the form of “Country Girl”, which was brilliantly driven by the excellent rhythm section, and another slow blues to calm things down before the interval.

The second set raised the already elevated bar to even greater heights beginning with a phenomenal rendition of Lester Butler’s “So Low Down”, with Big Pete’s vocals and harmonica mastery at their superlative best. “Got My Eyes On You”, which was beautifully underpinned by Maes and Klyn, provided another terrific guitar solo before the energy was cranked up another notch with a rip-roaring performance of Slim Harpo’s “Don’t Start Crying Now”. The delight continued with a wah-wah-flavoured number and a splendid version of “Come Back, Baby”, which featured an incredible drum solo from Willie Maes. ”Early In the Morning” served up another dose of Kooiman magic and a lovely solo on ‘naked’ harp from Big Pete.

The hugely enjoyable evening was brought to a climactic close by the upbeat shuffle, “Hard Times”, and the foot-tapping boogie, “Shake Your Hips”, as a loudly-demanded encore. Modern interpretation of authentic Chicago blues doesn’t get any better than this. Absolutely top drawer.

Lionel Ross

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