|Mike Zito looks for some fresh guitar angles|
The set draws in large measure on his just-released live album Blues For The Southside, and on that basis he soon turns to the slow blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s ‘Texas Flood’, giving it a big lead guitar intro, and then mid-song making the whole guitar hero malarkey look easy with a solo that never resorts to speed freakery. A little later there’s an epic quality to their take on Blind Faith’s ‘In The Presence Of The Lord’, with an accelerating mid-section on which Zito puts his wah-wah pedal to work.
Mid-set Will Wilde enters the proceedings as a guest, wearing black leather trousers and a bandolero loaded with harmonicas rather than bullets, and looking disgustingly young and energetic. He takes over on vocals as they rip into some raw, harp-blasting, mic stand-thrusting Chicago-style blues. Then he sticks around to embark on a guitar-harp duel with Zito on ‘Love Her With A Feeling’, giving it even more of a tough ‘Riot In Cell Block Number 9’ dimension that on its Blues For The Southside outing.
They relax a bit on the stomp of ‘Wasted Time’, with Byrkit and Johnson delivering plenty of
|Mike Zito and Wille Wilde give it some welly!|
After that it’s a pleasure to unwind with the loose and loping ‘Gone To Texas’, into which they turn on a dime to insert a chunk of the Allmans’ ‘Jessica’. Dunno what that’s got to do with Texas, really, since the Allmans came from Florida, but who cares about such details?
Zito teasingly lifts the strap of his beat-up Strat as if to depart, but it’s just a fake walk-off before they burst into a turbo-charged reading of ‘Fortunate Son’ to end the night. Which is just the kind of sound I really like to hear from Mike Zito, so I’m a happy bunny.
It’s a very long way from the Gulf Coast of Texas to Newcastle, and Zito and co were zig-zagging Britain through some pretty crappy weather over the previous two weeks. But for all that, this was a gig that showed the rock’n’roll force remains strong in these guys.