Live review: Preston Blues Festival at Tonic Live Lounge, The Bears Paw – Saturday, 30th May.

Posted on: Wednesday, Jun 3, 2015

Review for – ‘PRESTON BLUES FESTIVAL’ – Saturday 30th May @ Tonic Live Lounge, The Bears Paw.

PRESTON BLUES FESTIVAL opened its doors for a second year running at the Tonic Live Lounge, Bears Paw in Preston, Lancashire. It was never going to be a massive event, but the class line up gave it an edge on some of the bigger festivals and it was whole heartedly enjoyed by all who came.

MC and DJ, Chris Powers opened the day with some excellent blues and groove from his vast collection, to get us in ‘the mood’, which continued throughout the festival.


First on stage, from the US, was Kent DuChaine. He gave us superb raw 12 bar delta blues on his battered resonator guitar, interspersed with some storytelling, with tales of his experiences with the greats of Muddy Waters and Son House et al. A great performance from a charismatic character.


A total treat was in store with the fabulous ‘Brothers Groove’ from Birmingham. They played a mix of blues funk, with a leaning towards jazz and are one of the best live bands I have heard. They certainly didn’t disappoint, playing a selection of numbers from their incredible self penned album ‘Play The Game’ and a couple of covers. The spine tingling number ‘Another Girl’ was sung to perfection by Shaun Hill and the guitar solos from Shaun and Nige Mellor were faultless. Deano Bass kept in the groove, with Jim Simpson maintaining the rhythm on drums. They ended the set with their own rendition of the classic ‘Superstition’ and also raised a well deserved encore.


After a short break we were entertained by the well-travelled North West-based pairing ‘The Blues Duo’, who are Tommy Allan and Johnny Hewitt. They demonstrated great showmanship with their Chicago style stomping blues, interlaced with rock n’ roll. Tommy is the master of the guitar and added stomping drums, while Johnny is just the coolest blues harp player I’ve heard. Brilliant!


Next a band who are getting quite a fan base in Preston and though out Europe, they are ‘Willie & The Bandits’ from Cornwall. Playing an eclectic mix, of which I could describe as ‘roots rock with blues overtones’, they are certainly a different take from the norm. They played mostly a selection of their own songs taken from their three superb albums, with plenty of guitar and lap slide from Wille – with some awesome sound effects. Excellent bass on six string, and stick from Matt and technically superb drums and percussion from Drew . They played an epic version of their acclaimed ‘Angel’ , an instrumental, with Matt playing the six string bass as if it was a lead guitar, just amazing.


The last act of the evening were the Kent based band ‘Rosco Levee & The Southern Slide’. Leaning towards Southern Rock, they gave us some rockin’ competent guitar work and Hammond input. Fronted by Rosco Levee on vocals and guitars, they have a sound reminiscent of the 70’s American rock but with an added extra. Rosco has a great voice, not unlike a cross between Paul Rodgers and Stevie Marriot. With a mix of rock and added funky numbers they provided a great end to what had been a buzzin’ festival.

Thanks go to ‘Colin Black’ for all his hard work putting the festival together and to all those who have helped along the way and let’s hope we can do it all again next year!

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

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