[MUSIC ~ Americana/Folk-Blues ~ USA]
Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Wed 22 May.
The evening begins with a short, but highly enjoyable set from local band Lazy Eye, an inspired choice to open proceedings. Whether it’s cranking the Hammond sounds out of his NordC2D keyboard, playing blues harp, or standing out front crooning with mic in hand, Evan Whetter works hard to engage the room. With Erica Graf on Gold Top Gibson guitar and backing vocals, and Mario Marino on drums and backing vocals, Lazy Eye do well to entertain us and leave with the audience calling for more.
A smiling Eric Bibb, self-proclaimed ‘happiest man in the world’ acknowledges his audience before launching into a solo version of Silver Spoon, a song from the ‘40s which he acknowledges is biographical to the extent that it is about being born to sing the blues. Then Eric’s band arrives, Staffan Astner on guitar, Neville Malcolm on bass, and Paul Robinson on drums, to rip into a rollicking version of Going Down The Road Feeling Bad.
Eric is also an engaging storyteller, so his revealing introduction to songs begins with Turner Station. Then follows On My Way To Bamako, which must be the happiest blues song going. After Connected and With My Maker I Am One, the band leave the stage again for Eric to perform an a Cappella version of Refugee Moan, from the album Migration Blues, which he explains was nominated for, but narrowly missed, a Grammy Award. Staffan joins him for a new song, Along The Way, written for his children, and Dance Me To The End Of Love, which requires the explanation that it is not the Leonard Cohen song of the same name, but was inspired by a painting he later realised was inspired by the Cohen Song.
The band returns for Come Back Baby, With A Dolla’ In My Pocket, and Needed Time, the first song for the evening from his latest double CD Global Griot. Things get a little gospel flavoured about now with Don’t You Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down and In My Father’s House finishing the set, before a standing ovation produces a singalong encore Mole In The Ground, only the second song for the night from his new album.
Throughout the night we witnessed some outstanding playing from the band, which Eric is clearly enjoying, and a ‘real deal bluesman’ at the top of his game. The length of the queue at the merchandise desk afterwards, hoping to grab a word with Eric, suggests that people have been royally entertained!
Images courtesy of Adrian Miller