Live review: Rhythm Zoo at The Diggle Blues Festival, Saddleworth – 20th June

Posted on: Monday, Jun 22, 2015


Live Review for ‘RHYTHM ZOO’ @ The Diggle Blues Festival, Diggle, Saddleworth, Oldham – Saturday 20th June 2015

We dropped by the Diggle Blues Festival to catch the last act of the evening, ‘Rhythm Zoo’.

What a thriving little festival in its sixth year, with great vision from David Wood the organiser. Set in the stunning countryside of the Saddleworth Moors, some great music was on offer and as a three day event, the artists and bands were spread over three venues in the village, with times staggered so enabling everyone to see all the acts. The festival was free entry and well supported by voluntary contributions. It seems it will be well worth a visit for me next year.

Rhythm Zoo were playing the final slot on Saturday night, at the Diggle Band Club. Fronting the band on outstanding vocals was Andi Hall, with Phil Dean on amazing lead guitar, Pete Rea, collaborative writer and rhythm guitarist, Pete Betts on bass and Dermot Hall on drums.

The classic raunchy opener of ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’, was followed by ‘Good Girl Bad Thing’, an up tempo funky number with superb guitar, solid bass and drums and excellent vocals. ‘Part Time Love’, taken from a Reba Russell number, had a great bass and drum intro’. Then bringing in some rock and earthy vocals with Henrik Freischlader’s ‘I’, all added to the variety of the set. A class take on the Robert Cray number ‘Playing In The Dirt’ gave us a slow sexy blues. A great drum intro’ with haunting guitar and superb vocals on ‘Going Back To Memphis’.

With a new CD on the horizon, one of the self penned songs from the new album, ‘Steal Your Love’, had a rocky feel and showed off the magic fingers of Phil on guitar. Another Zoo song to follow, with ‘Crazy Kitten Blues’ and to finish the first set another from the forthcoming album, a cover of the Shemekia Copeland song, ‘Whole Lotta Water’, with a funky soul and rock feel.

The second set brought us a great rock opener, with Phil in charge, on ‘River Of Tears’ another self penned track from the album, with fabulous earthy vocals from Andi. Then followed by an epic version of T-Bone Walker’s ‘Stormy Monday. A brilliant take and one of the best of the set, with an amazing guitar solo and incredibly powerful vocals, spine chilling!

Getting down and dirty with the Etta James blues classic ‘I Sing The Blues’, with Andi in her element. The vocals were then handed over to Phil for the next two numbers, with excellent versions of ‘Badge’ and ‘Red House’, showcasing what an amazing guitarist he is. Andi returned with another excellent self penned track from the album, ‘Sold For Love’, this time with a hint of Americana.

Next a fabulous cover, written by Dee Martin (USA) called ’12 Bar Blues’ with a great story line and the self penned ‘Coco Blue’, a slow poignant electric blues with sultry vocals, both destined for the new album. The evening was rounded off with some classics, ‘Got My Mojo Workin’, with audience participation and ‘Sweet Home Chicago’. For a well deserved encore, a great take of The Door’s ‘Roadhouse Blues’.

Rhythm Zoo have certainly raised their game over the past few years and gave a show that was varied with class vocals and great musicianship. I will look forward to hearing the exciting new album to be called ‘Tempest Sky’, in full, when it is released.

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

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