Gig: Southport Blues, Rhythm & Rock Festival – The Atkinson: Sunday, 19th October

Posted on: Saturday, Sep 20, 2014

Southport Blues Festival: Ft Steve Cropper

Steve Cropper to headline the First Southport Blues, Rhythm & Rock Festival

The full line-up for the first Southport Blues, Rhythm & Rock Festival to be held at The Atkinson has been announced with the legendary Steve Cropper headlining.

The festival in partnership with Solid Entertainments takes place on Sunday 19 October from 2pm to 10pm and features six international acts including festival headliner Steve Cropper with Animals & Friends, Billy Walton Band, Hitman Blues Band, Makuini & the Hoo Doo Men and Lucy Zirins.

Steve Cropper (The Colonel) has been in the Stax Records house band, Booker T & The MG’s and has backed artists such as Otis Redding, Carla & Rufus Thomas and Sam & Dave. Steve was also a member of the Blues Brothers and appeared as himself in both Blues Brothers films.

Animals & Friends shook the world back in 1964 and have re-invented themselves. The enduring influence and breadth of appeal of Animals & Friends and The Animals’ music in 2010 – The Animals’ 1964 debut was recently included in CLASSIC ROCK magazines ’50 Albums That Built Blues Rock ‘.

Animals & Friends remain a seminal rhythm & blues band who still command great respect internationally amongst their peers as well as from fans of all ages who instinctively respond so enthusiastically to such pivotal songs from their catalogue such as ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’, ‘Boom Boom’, ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’, ‘Baby, Let Me Take You Home’, ‘I Put A Spell On You’ and the bands’ multi-million selling anthem and Number One hit across the world – ‘House of The Rising Sun’.

While guitarist/vocalist for Boccigalupe & The Bad Boys Billy Walton played countless gigs in both the United States and Europe and sat in with numerous of rock luminaries including Springsteen, Gary US Bonds and Stevie Ray’s backing band, Double Trouble.

The 30-year old Walton’s talents are no secret among everyone in the Jersey shore music scene and with the founding of the Billy Walton Band there’s little doubt his reputation will grow far beyond the Garden State. The Billy Walton Band’s sound is a combination of hard blues reminiscent of Hendrix, Clapton and Vaughn mixed with a healthy dose of Warren Hayes and Derrick Trucks.

Live, Walton has always been an explosive performer with jaw dropping talent but with the addition of bassist William Paris and drummer Marcus Croan the Billy Walton band churns out a singular brand of funky blues that has deep roots in both the jam band musical tradition as well as the Jersey shore Walton has cut his teeth on.

The Billy Walton Band’s ultimate appeal lies in the unique musical gifts of its founder, Walton himself, who, like his forebears is poised to join the long and storied list of sidemen whose time has come to step out front.

The Hitman Blues Band will make you glad that music exists in the first place. Made up of Russell “Hitman” Alexander (guitar, vocals), Mike Porter(bass, vocals), Kevin Rymer (keyboards), Guy La Fountaine (drums), Eric Altarac (trumpet), Michael Snyder (saxophone), and Al Alpert (trombone), the band knows how to blend a historic genre with modern flare. The Hitman Blues Band play the type of music that will captivate and keep you thrilled from start to finish.

It is not only Makuini’s remarkable voice but her drive and personality that have made her one of New Zealand’s best loved singers around the world today. She became an established singer, dancer and actress both on stage and with appearances in television drama, radio, and light entertainment shows.

She is now a sought after vocal coach, but it is the pull of her first love, Blues and Jazz, that brings her back to her roots, with her new EP, ‘ Roll of The Dice’.

Lucy Zirins is from Burnley; she combines a mix of blues, soul, folk and gospel numbers in her set, increasingly performs original material and is fast making a name for herself on the acoustic scene as a songwriter.

In 2012 she was runner-up in the ‘British Young Artist’ category at The British Blues Awards and was winner of the ‘Best Newcomer’ category in the ‘Blues Matters’ Writers’ Poll and runner-up in the Best Solo Artist. She has just finished recording her debut album at Liam Watson’s ToeRag Studios in London, with Michael Messer as producer featuring some of Britain’s finest session musicians.

The Hexmen’s music is blues based certainly but the defining quality of the Hexmen has always been energy with an aggressive, indie edge and a psychedelic undercurrent that lends extra dimensions to the music. Notwithstanding George’s historic links with the 80s and 90s Liverpool music scene, the current band members have an exciting pedigree. George Hexman  himself, vocals (and a much sought after session blues harp player), has recorded with with some of the most significant indie bands of the past 20 years.

The Band: George Hexmen (vocals), Colin Guthrie ( Guitar), Mike Cain (Bass) and Mat Shaw drums).

Advance tickets for Southport Blues Festival are now on sale for £27 / doors £30. They are available online at or by calling The Atkinson Box Office on01704 533333. You can also purchase your tickets over the counter during The Atkinson’s opening hours.

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