Review: 1st Annual Preston Rockin’ Blues Festival – Saturday, 31st May

Posted on: Sunday, Jun 8, 2014

Taking place at The Club Tonic, Bears Paw, Preston, this was the 1st Annual Preston Rockin’ Blues Festival and what a success it was.

With Chris Powers as MC and DJ, the day got off to a welcome start.


With the help of the excellent sound man, Luke Paget, the first act to take the stage on this momentous occasion were a band from the NW, ‘Tipitina’ but as a duo, with Debbie Jones on guitar and vocals and Justin Randall on keys and vocals. What a great set with the classic New Orleans jazzy blues flavour. A brilliant start to the day.

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Next, an all time favourite Prestonian band ‘The Stumble’. A superb Chicago style blues band fronted by the charismatic Paul Melville on distinctive vocals. Colin Black gave us a treat with lead and slide ‘extraordinaire’ guitar, plus a bit of blues harp playing too. The amazing Simon Anthony on sax, and it is understandable why he has been nominated for Instrumentalist in this year’s British Blues Awards.

With new member Antony Scapens on guitar, Cameron Sweetnam on bass and the powerhouse of Boyd Tonner on drums the line up was complete. They played several of their classic tracks from previous and current albums and some great R&B with ‘funked’ up numbers that had the audience spellbound.

Chris Powers played a keen collection of music during the break and kept us entertained ready for the evening session.


This kicked off with ‘The Special Agents’, featuring Alan Brown, from Glasgow, with an exceptional penchant for blues and jazz guitar. A multi talented band with Boyd Tonner on drums and Cameron Sweetnam on bass and Justin Randall on keys. Guesting on harp was the brilliant Paul Routledge. A classy set from these talented musicians playing classic blues and finishing with a jazzy instrumental.


The penultimate act of the evening were a 4 piece harp driven band from Yorkshire, ‘TC & The Money Makers’. Plenty of raw blues, leading onto excellent swing. Fronted by Tom Cox on mean harp and vocals, Karl Moon on guitar, a very forthright ‘how it happens’ musician who did not have the aid of pedals, Giles Bell and Mark Tyne on bass and drums as the drivin’ rhythm section. Paul Routledge joined the band for a harp duo, so all in all a class performance.


The final act of the evening and one of my favourite bands at this time were ‘David Migden & The Twisted Roots’. They didn’t disappoint. Fronting the band was David Migden on lead vocal, trumpet and megaphone, Joe Gibson on guitar, animated and talented, Phil Scragg on bass, multi musician, Graham Mann on keys ,trombone and percussion, and James Sedge on drums.

They are no way a traditional blues band, as they lean towards jazz, with alternative overtones … think Zappa. They played a variety tracks from their excellent album ‘Killing It’ and from their new album ‘Animal & Man’ , so different from the norm. David has been nominated for the Male Vocalist of the Year in the British Blues Awards 2014 and anyone who has heard him sing can understand why.

Well there endeth the 1st Preston Blues Festival and I hope there will be more to come. Well done to Colin Black for putting it together and to all those have supported the ‘vision’.

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive

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