Review: The Ian Parker Band – The Atkinson Theatre, Southport – 25th January, 2014

Posted on: Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014

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Review: The Ian Parker Band – The Atkinson Theatre, Southport – 25th January, 2014

The packed studio of the tastefully refurbished Atkinson Theatre provided a splendid setting for the appearance of the Ian Parker Band in Southport where the singer/guitarist from Stourbridge was superbly backed by Morg Morgan on keyboard, David Jenkins on bass guitar and Chris Finn on drums. The performance comprised a single, extended set that covered the broad spectrum of the frontman’s twenty-year career, which had started when he was a seventeen-year-old fan of Hendrix and Clapton.

The show was opened with a thoroughly effective, slowed-down version of “Misfits And Fools”. Thereafter, the performance drifted in and out of the self-confessed, angst-driven section of Ian Parker’s catalogue of songs. “Told My Girl To Go Away” rubbed shoulders with Muddy Waters’s “She’s Alright” and a number from the Pilgrimmage album, recorded in Memphis.

The placement of “It’s A Man’s World” in the middle of the concert came as something of a surprise, as it has traditionally provided the climax to the band’s shows. It is a testament to Parker’s confidence that he can now throw it into the mix, midstream, as a highlight to be built upon rather than a final showstopper. Needless to say, his execution included the usual, stunning guitar solo so loved by his fans.

Bass player, David Jenkins, admirably assumed lead vocals on a Cream standard before Ian resumed the role on a couple of self-penned compositions and a marvellous version of “Love Her With A Feeling”. The magnificent set was concluded with a fabulous rendition of “Little Wing”, which brought the house down and led to a sustained demand for an encore.

What followed was a mini show in itself with a solo acoustic delivery of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and brilliant versions of “Born Under A Bad Sign” and Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” to end a superlative evening. The musicianship of all four band members was of the highest quality and delightfully embellished by Ian Parker’s modest and articulate narrative between numbers.

LIONEL ROSS

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