Sheila's Gig Reviews

Monday 28 November 2016
Kent DuChaine @ Famous Monday Blues, Oxford
Kent DuChaine has spent time with some of the great bluesmen an has many a tale to tell. His performance (with his beloved National Steel guitar 'Leadbessie') features songs by Robert Johnson, Bukka White and Willie Dixon as well as self penned numbers, all preceded by colourful anecdotes and some blues history.
Sunday 20 November 2016
Jools Holland @ The New Theatre, Oxford
What a fantastic evening of entertainment from Jools and the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. As well as the wonderful Ruby Turner, Louise Marshall and new addition Beth Rowley the show featured several numbers from Pauline Black and Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson from The Selecter.
Beth Rowley opened the evening with a selection of her own songs and some fine harmonica playing. I'm looking forward to seeing her again when she returns to Oxford in January.
Friday 18 November 2016
Sherika Sherard, Southbank, London
Busking by the River Thames on a windy Friday afternoon, Sherika managed to attract quite a crowd with her soulful voice (and a stunning version of 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine'). Later in December she gets to perform inside the Royal Festival Hall. I shall endeavour to see her there.
Monday 14 November 2016
Thomas Ford @ Famous Monday Blues, Oxford
An evening of blues singing, stomping, guitar picking and harmonica playing of self-penned numbers. Thomas tends to appear close to home in South West England...when he's not performing in France! Look out for him and/or his latest cd 'Shoulder To Cry On'.
Friday 11 - Sunday 13 November 2016
I was very lucky to be offered a lift to Ilfracombe Blues Festival at the eleventh hour and jumped at the chance to go!
Most of the bands I had seen or heard before - but I was delighted to discover Mike 'Dr. Blue', Kris Barras Band and especially Thorbjorn Risager & the Black Tornado. It was good to see (ex-Little Devils) Yoka & the Sugarbeats too. And some blasts from the past -Terry Reid and Edgar Broughton - received a warm welcome from the crowd.
You can check out all of them on my playlist of 30 videos (some are pretty dodgy!). Each one includes links to individual band websites for you to follow up if you want to see/hear more of better quality nd find out where bands are playing next.
Thursday 10 November
The Mentulls @ The Haven Club, Oxford
Showcasing numbers from their latest album 'Reflections' - another good session from this excellent band of young musicians.
Thursday 20 October 2016
Pat McManus Band @ The Haven Club, Oxford
I just love Pat McManus! So much energy and charisma, he is wonderful to watch as well as listen to. 
Here's a link to my videos (again, apologies for the quality and the fact that I haven't got around to listing the titles!). The first one on the playlist features the opening few numbers, others include his tributes to Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore.
Support from Trident Waters
Trident Waters are a band I haven't seen before, although they supported Chantel McGregor at The 100 Club and I missed them at Skegness Rock and Blues Festival too!
Friday 14 October 2016
Son of Dave @ The Old Fire Station, Oxford.
Son of Dave was as entertaining as always and I seem to recall included audience involvement in a conga!
Support from King Size Slim whose acoustic set from the floor (as opposed to the stage) was very good.
Tuesday 11 October 2016
Ryan McGarvey @ 100 Club, Oxford.
Wow! We were treated to some fierce guitar playing in a set of blues-flavoured rock. Unfortunately, I nearly fainted (I had travelled straight on to the venue after giving blood) so the video is a little more wobbly than usually. But after the Erja experience - I managed to get a seat to the side of the stage (near the loo!) so at least the sound is not too bad. 
Support from Erja Lyytinen whose slide guitar I really enjoy. No video capture though. Now, it may just be me but I found the sound balance seemed really bad (and believe me, I usually start off by the sound desk and move around the room to find the 'sweet spot' ). The bass was so loud it drowned out the keyboards. What a pity. Should have visited the loo earlier where it sounded better!
Saturday 8 October 2016
Wille & the Bandits @ The Jericho Tavern, Oxford.
I first saw this band at the 'Summer Breeze Festival, Swindon in July 2012 and was well impressed! (for historical purposes, here's my video: 
Then again on the Introducing Stage at Skegness last year, where they received most votes so got to perform on the main stage (Reds) this year and went down a storm. I recommended them to a friend who went to Fairport Convention's Cropredy, and he tells me they were superb. So there is cross genre appeal. Still on tour in UK til November before heading off to Germany - if you can't see them live pre-order the new album 'Steal'.
Monday 3 October 2016
Red Butler @ the Haven Club, Oxford
Alex is a super guitarist and Jane Pearce's vocals really impress. Last seen at Wallingford Blues & Beer Festival in June (so they appeared on that playlist), and Upton Blues Festival (but no video!) and before that at Ilfracombe last year, I do enjoy this band. They seem to have a very busy schedule and with a new album "Nothing to Lose' (the title track is on my video) so there will be plenty of opportunities for you to hear them for yourself.
Friday 30 September 2016
Mike Zito/Albert Castiglia with guest Will Wilde @ The Iron Road, Evesham
Well you couldn't wish for a better end to September! The pub venue doesn't really allow a good view of the band and I was too close to get a good sound for my recordings as that buzzy bass/drum  noise really wasn't good (it was ok for me, I had my ear protectors!) so I can't share the videos I made. Such a shame because it was a great evening with Albert Castiglia showcasing tracks from 'Big Dog' (produced by Zito); Mike's tracks from 'Make Blues Not War' and Will Wilde performing his version of 'Parisienne Walkways' in the first half. After chatting with members of the audience (and posing for 'selfies') the second half included numbers from their back catalogues.
Here's a clip from someone else at another gig, so you can get a feel for the show:
Monday 26 September 2016
Stevie Nimmo Trio @ the Haven Club, Oxford
Good to see Stevie back on tour with a new album to promote. 'Sky Won't Fall' has some great tracks. Here are a couple:
Monday 19 September 2016
Giles Robson @ the Haven Club, Oxford
Giles and his new band gave us a night of good dirty blues...a couple of old favourites and a generous helping of new numbers from 'For Those Who Need the Blues'. 
Support from Mad Larry
I'm very lucky that there are so many blues gigs in my area. And some good local bands too, one of whom is 'Mad Larry'. With many self-penned tales laced with naughtiness they perform with gusto so both they and the audience have a really good time! Find them on facebook for more info.
Wednesday 24 August 2016
Gwyn Ashton @ The Haven Club
Gwyn Ashton redefines the term 'solo artist' with his selection of gizmos, bass drum, harmonica and guitars. High energy stuff but he's also capable of very delicate numbers too. Have a listen:
Thursday 18 August 2016
Pete Boss & the Bluehearts @ The Wheatsheaf, Oxford
Back in the days before folk moved into houses built next to music venues in the little market town where I live (yes, you've guessed it, complaints followed by closure) there used to be some great bands to see just 10 minutes walk from home. Pete Boss & the Bluehearts was one that was new to me and I am delighted to see they are back on the scene after a bit of a break.
Friday 12 August 2016
John Verity Band @ The Brasenose Arms, Cropredy
While thousands were getting into Fairport Convention's Cropredy, there was this little free 'Fairport Fringe Festival at a pub down the road!
Support from Alex McKown Band
Just 20 years old and a finalist in the 2016 British Blues Awards every year from 2011-2016! I first saw Alex at Butlins Great British Rock & Blues Festival, Skegness, and was duly impressed! He has a few more festivals and gigs coming up so if you like what you hear, do try to see him.


28-30 October Bluesfest, London 

Held for the second year at London O2 Arena, the line up for the main events was superb (Van Morrison, Jeff Beck, Bill Wyman's 80th birthday gala (featuring Robert Plant, Mark Knopfler amongst many guests), Walter Trout, Jo Harman, Big Boy Bloater and more. 
However, I didn't get to see any of them opting instead to spending my available funds on a festival such as Ilfracombe (see below); on ten gigs rather than one or, as in this case, choosing free live music! 
There were only two free stages: The BB King Stage situated just inside the entrance where, with the doors wide open, it was cold and subject to people who had not come for the music passing through. The Acoustic Stage was between the entrances to two restaurants so the space for the audience and sight of the performances was very limited. And both had the same timings (30 minutes set and a 15 minute changeover) so there was little opportunity to see even a snatch of both bands performing at the same time. Unlike last year where the sessions started earlier and lasted longer, these didn't start until 3.45 and ended at 6.30. But the bands on both stages were fabulous!
On Saturday I saw: LaVendore Rogue; Jack J Hutchinson's Boom Boom Brotherhood; Mark Harrison (only one song) and Joe Doyle. Joe was a new name to me but I discovered he usually performs as Joe Corbin, named as 'one to watch' by Classic Rock's Blues Magazine in 2015. I shall certainly be looking out for him!
Sunday I enjoyed fine sets from Giles Robson, Lisa Mills (who I last saw in my home town c.2005!) Kaz Hawkins ('abandoned' before the end to catch the last few bars of 'Unsquare Dance' by Paddy Milner on the other stage). Then missed Half Deaf Clatch in order to see Catfish back on the BB KIng stage!
Still, apart from my moans about the set up I heard some mighty fine music (but I do wish the guitarists would ease off the fuzz box or whatever they do to turn playing music into a bit of a noise! Ok for heavy rock fans I guess).
I'm still trying to arrange transport to Ilfracombe Blues Festival 11-13 November but fear I shall be unlucky and miss it this year. Three days of super bands including Stray, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Laurence Jones, King King, Dr Feelgood, Edgar Broughton and Yoka and the Sugarbeats (a must-see if you liked the Little Devils). All the music is in the same place, so you don't have to miss anyone. Three days including accommodation costs only a little more than seeing one or possibly two performances in the main O2 Arena or the Royal Albert Hall (where, in my limited experience, the sound is not that great!). 


Monday 1 July 2016
Moreland & Arbuckle @ The Haven Club, Oxford
Guitarist Aaron Moreland and Dustin Arbuckle (harmonica and vocals) write and play raw and gritty blues inspired by Delta and Mississippi Hill Country blues as well as traditional blues. Their performances are always exciting and this night was no exception (although the sound balance could have been better. Or maybe that was just from where I was standing!). 
Thursday 7 July 2016
Booker T Jones @ The Brooklyn Bowl, London
Well what can one say about Booker T that hasn't been said a thousand times before? Like most fans my first introduction was 'Green Onions' which he co-wrote with while still in high school and was a massive hit in 1962. It was probably the tune that turned me on to bands featuring Hammond organ (and I quickly became a fan of Jimmy Smith et al) although now I think about it perhaps Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames had a lot to do with it!
It was a great show. Unfortunately I'm not very good at remembering names so the superb female singer who joined the band for a few numbers has to go uncredited. Perhaps someone can enlighten me? But I do remember the guitarist is his son Ted Jones - and very good he is too.
Here's my playlist: 
but you'd probably be better off watching a recording of his performance at the North Sea Jazz festival! 
Monday 11 July 2016
Albany Down @ The Haven Club, Oxford
I first saw this band at Ilfracombe Blues Festival 2014 and a few times since then. They are currently promoting their new album "The Outer Reach". Well worth a listen!
Friday 15- Sunday 17 July 2016 
Upton Blues Festival
My third visit to this wonderful free festival held in Upton upon Severn. As well as three main stages many of the local pubs book live bands to play over the weekend. And the MV Conway Castle ran blues cruises on the River with a different band featured each day. So many bands to see...I missed Aynsley Lister and others that I'd seen before so that I could catch those new to me. Highlights were The Producers on their 25th anniversary tour, Half Deaf Clatch and a very talented young man, Adam Sweet. 
I have two playlists on YouTube but camera battery ran out so nothing for Sunday!
Tuesday 26 July 2016 
Jonny Henderson @ Baker Street Jazz, Swindon
Jonny takes the occasional break from Matt Schofield to play some jazz. This clip is from last time I saw him, although there will be different musicians for this gig.
Now until Sunday 31 July 2016
Gloucester Rhythm & Blues Festival at various venues in Gloucester.
A free festival with some super live acts including 
Keith Thompson, Guy Tortora Trio, Stuart Earl & Michael Messer, 
Luke Doherty Band, Red Butler, Sari Schorr and the Engine Room, 
Troy Redfern Band, Della Grants and - especially for Rory Gallagher 
fans - Band of Friends.
Sad to miss it this year because it coincides with our local FollyFest here in Faringdon, Oxfordshire and I make a point of supporting local events and bands to keep music live! 
See to download full programme details


It's been a busy couple of months and I've enjoyed some terrific gigs. I cannot hope to compare with Geoff Scott's brilliant reviews so I've included links to videos I made and you can judge for yourselves. By the way, I use a little point-and-shoot camera so don't expect high quality images, but the sound is usually a fairly accurate recording of what I heard, including audience chatter! If any of the bands are playing in your area, the clips will give you an idea of what to expect. 

I know I should have posted this sooner as several of the artists are finalists in the British Blues Awards 2016
More videos of each band (and others) are available on my YouTube channels. Enjoy!
Wednesday 27 April 2016
Laurence Jones @ The Haven Club, Oxford. 
Excellent, as usual. Laurence showed off his new Danelectro Baritone guitar, drummer Phil Wilson and a couple of numbers from the upcoming release 'Take Me High' including 'The Price I Pay' with a solo by Roger Inniss: 
Support from The Black Circles.
Monday 16 May 2016
George Shovlin & The Radars @ Famous Monday Blues, Jericho, Oxford. 
Support from The Teddy White Band
Very small audience but both bands gave us their all. Great to hear George Shovlin perform in Oxford for the first time (with his wry sense of humour unabated). I do hope he'll come back again, perhaps to the Wallingford Beer & Blues Festival where there is a very appreciative (and larger) audience.
Thursday 19 May 2016
Ryan McGarvey @ The Haven Club, Oxford
Support from The Troy Redfern Band
Friday 20 May 2016
Big Boy Bloater & The Limits @ The Old Fire Station, Oxford. 
Showcased songs from the new CD 'Luxury Hobo Blues'.
Monday 23 May 2016
Mark Harrison @ Famous Monday Blues, Jericho, Oxford
I had never seen or heard of Mark Harrison before. He was shortlisted in British Blues Award but not, as he suggested, for his chat (which was very funny!). A super session of acoustic blues and original songs.
Support from The King Biscuit Boys
Some very nice harmonica and washboard playing going on here from Craig Stocker.
Saturday 11 June 2016
Wallingford Blues & Beer Festival
Red Butler
Laurence Jones Band
Here's my playlist featuring all three bands:
Wednesday 15 June 2016
Sari Schorr & The Engine Room @ The Haven Club, Oxford
Innes Sibun on guitar was a little under-used in my opinion but a lively evening nevertheless.
Support from Kanadia
Monday 20 June 2016
Kaz Hawkins Band @ The Haven Club, Oxford
Wow! What a voice! 
Support from the Husky Tones
There will be more soon!


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