You can see my photos from the show over on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page and part of this review appeared, along with Emily Burden’s review in The Guernsey Press on Saturday 20th October (you can see it below).
I also got some videos that you can see after the review.
While I am well aware that most (if not all) of the music I listen to a regular basis has at least one ancestral foot in the blues, by itself it is a genre I generally find hard to get into when presented in the form of an entire night of live blues music.
Tonight at The Fermain Tavern, however, the varied line up of four acts seemed to be the sort of thing that should make for a great night regardless as to the blues tag.
Robert J Hunter was first on stage armed with his acoustic guitar this evening and, as ever, he played a great set based largely around his own songs, with a few choice covers of more traditional blues numbers.
The first half of Robert’s set was what we’ve come to expect from him but it was when he swapped guitars that we got to see a new side of his sound. With a bottleneck slide on his finger Robert played a few numbers based around slide guitar which, though new to his set, sounded just as good and fit right in with his more well-known material.
With the audience steadily growing throughout his set it seemed Robert won a lot of new fans tonight as well as adding a new string to his bow for those of us who’ve long known of his talents.
After some more blues and roots tunes from DJ Patrick Devaney it was time for the steampunk garage folk racket of The Crowman.
Starting off his set with a selection of songs featuring “Fiddling Pixie” Emma Weldon on the fiddle The Crowman started his set in a slightly slower fashion than sometimes.
As things moved on though both ‘Crowie’ and Emma were soon hitting their stride though and the set’s folkier portion ended with the two sparking off one another in fine form.
Then The Crowman plugged in his resonator guitar and cranked up the overdrive on his Tiny Terror to create a sound that can only be described as PsychoFolk as he tore through Lucifer Lady and a brand new original song while sending a monitor flying from the stage and drawing the now busy Tavern crowd in and leaving them on a real high.
Arguably the show’s headliner was up next in the form of Scottish alternative bluesman Dave Arcari.
Armed with three resonator guitars, a pint and a whiskey Dave also started his set with some slower numbers, but all infused with something of a rock ‘n’ roll sensibility behind the blues. Playing bottleneck slide style throughout he came across as something of a demented hybrid of Seasick Steve, Jack White and Hat Fitz.
While the slower songs took a while for the set to warm up, but as it rolled along both Dave’s energy and evident musicianship really drew the crowd in and as he picked up his black resonator and hit the overdrive pedal the audience seemed to really perk up with some starting to move to the music.
After a well deserved encore Dave Arcari left the Fermain crowd buzzing tonight and left me wondering if he’d had a past in a metal band, as he certainly seems to have more than a hint of that hidden behind his unique take on the blues.
Following all these great solo (or semi-solo) musicians tonight, things were rounded up by the Hevvy Bevvy Blues Band. This was my first chance to see this band who I heard a lot about since they got together a year or so ago.
From the start it was clear that this five-piece were going to be a very different prospect from the other acts this evening and from the start the floor in front of the stage was packed with people looking to dance.
They were certainly not disappointed as the combination of Shaun Broughton’s charisma and vocal delivery and Dave Chatfield’s screaming blues harp was certainly the perfect combination of blues and pop to get people moving.
Across the set the band covered many blues standards and showed themselves to be a great party style band. However, for me I couldn’t help feeling that after the three other acts tonight Hevvy Bevvy’s schtick had a bit too much of the cabaret and not quite enough of ‘the blues’ for my tastes.
But, to be honest, on a night like this that is a small personal quibble, as the busy Tavern was rocking til the bitter end and Hevvy Bevvy certainly rounded off a varied night of blues music in a way that reminded that certainly the music I love owes more than a small debt to the classic style of music named after a colour.
Someone else also got some videos so here’s a link to one of theirs of the Hevvy Bevvy Blues Band:
Photos by Tom Girard courtesy of BBC Introducing Guernsey