|Sean Webster - Man In Black|
Webster may be the heart of the performance, notwithstanding his unassuming chat between songs, but his well-honed band also bring plenty to the party. Since I saw him last he’s recruited a new rhythm section, with Floris Poesse contributing supple bass and Ruud Gielen whacking the skins mightily when the occasion demands it. The ensemble cook up successive storms on ‘The Thrill Is Gone’, and some muscular funk-inflected Rock on ‘Give Me Time’.
Webster himself offers some expert storytelling on an evocative cover of Keith Urban’s ‘Til Summer Comes Around’, and after the rousing ‘Give Me The Truth’ he goes full tonto on the soul vocals front, with an impeccable reading of ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’, on which he delivers a solo that weaves around and about the vocal melody, elaborating and amplifying the emotion of the song in the run up to a compelling guitar and vocal ending. And by the way, Webster does all this with just the one guitar – none of that endless swapping and re-tuning that so consumes some guitar geeks.
The rocking ‘I Got The Blues’ includes some extra fun in the form of a sotto voce guitar and keys passage, before they close with ‘Mr Highwayman’, on which Webster and Bos depart the stage for a while as Poesse and Gielen embark on a highly entertaining rhythm section blowout.
I don’t know how many of this audience were familiar with Webster and co before tonight, but they roared for more, and got it in the shape of the slow and moody ‘Gravity’, with a very ‘Greeny’ intro, and finally the rousing, emphatic ‘You Gotta Know’.
Sean Webster is a damn good songwriter, he’s got the vocal and guitar chops to do the songs justice, and a well grooved band to do it with him. Other artists may get talked up big time, backed up by record labels and PR machinery, but to my mind the Sean Webster Band are among the unsung heroes of the current blues scene, and deserve more attention.
Speaking of well-grooved bands, local support act Cow Cow Boogie were also a wow. “Is it rockabilly? Is it R’n'B?” I asked myself as they ripped through the likes of ‘Scorched’, ‘Somebody’s Always Talking’, and ‘Candyman’. “And the answer is, who cares? This was the first time I’d encountered their stew of styles, incorporating stand-up bass, and several tons of twang courtesy of both Stevie Slide on lap steel and Steve Milne on guitar, and it warmed up a cold February night no end.
|Heads down, no nonsense Cow Cow Boogie|