Story added: 10:55am Mon Sep 17, 2012
Crowds flock to fourth festival of the blues
Saturday 8th September, 2012 - Newark Castle grounds
By Dawn Bond
Newark Blues Festival’s Saturday night line-up offered the packed crowd a wide variety of music.
The show, run by the Pointing family on a not-for-profit basis, got on the road with a stonking upbeat 30-minute set from the Balderton-based band, The Unusual Suspects. The group, who pack a punch wherever they go, can next be heard in The Prince Rupert pub, Newark, on November 13 and The Castle pub, Newark, on December 29.
They were followed by a countrified blues programme from Cherry Lee Mewis and her band, an electrifying performance from 24Pesos and a pulsating set from headliners, The Nimmo Brothers.
In between the acts, music was provided under the Victorian bandstand by the blues duo, August James — guitarist and singer James Manners, 22, of Moorhouse, and guitarist Mikey Gibson, 22, of North Muskham.
Throughout the night they were joined by guests Rob Laskey, of North Hykeham, on harmonica, Stuart Earl from My Name Is Earl and John Joe Gaskin, of Newark, on drums, and saxophonist Darren Riley, of Balderton. Their version of Motorhead’s The Ace Of Spades went down a storm.
The sun shone all day Sunday for the Newark Blues Awards, presented by the Nottingham Blues Society.
Blues Boy Dan took the stage first with an acoustic performance. With his gruff voice, guitar playing and boyish charm he is one to look out.
Singer and guitarist Del Bromham from the band Stray performed an improvised set and explained that he was there to replace the late great Maggie Ross who should have been performing with her band. Maggie lost her battle with cancer the previous Sunday.
Singer and guitarist Bex Marshall, in a dress, denim jacket and headscarf, belted out a few of her own compositions. She was followed by the trio, Babajack, who offered an unusual olde worlde sound, on drums, home-made guitar, harmonica and bass.
The Paddy Maguire Band wowed the crowd with their fast-fingered guitar-playing and electric sound, and invited several guests to join them, including guitarists Alex McKown, Callum Williams, and Marcus Bonfanti and keyboardist Paddy Milner.
However, most people were there to see young guitarist Tobi and friends — Andy Fraser (formerly with Free and ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor) — and they were not disappointed.
Andy and Tobi paid tribute to John Mayall with a rendition of Dancing In A Burning Room. Mick then joined in to perform a sensational version of Honky Tonk Women. They all finished with All Right Now, getting the crowd up and dancing.
I had chance to talk to Andy and Mick after their short, but amazing set, as it was the first time they had played together in 45 years.
Andy said: “We love the setting. We saw Lady Gaga perform on Saturday night and she had a castle built on stage. To have a real castle as the backdrop for the Newark Blues Festival was just perfect.
“As well as performing I was told I was going to present an award but was completely surprised when I was one of three winners of the British Blues Great award along with Del Bromham and Tony McPhee.
“I first played with Mick when I was 15. I am now 60 so it has been a long time for us to get back together. Hopefully it won’t be the last time or the last visit to Newark.”
Mick Taylor said: “I last played in the town about 40 years ago so it was great to be back. Personally I would have loved to have played for longer but we were only scheduled to do a 20-minute slot. The blues festival is a great event and long may it continue.”
Andy said he discovered the talented Tobi, from Greater Barnet, and signed him to his record label, going on tour to America with him for three months, with more touring to come — DAB.
THE award winners for the year, presented by the Nottingham Blues Society were: best band: King King; overseas artist: Joe Bonamassa; male vocalist: Ian Siegal; acoustic act: Ian Siegal; album: Take My Hand by King King; harmonica player: Paul Jones; drummer: Steve Cutmore; young artist: Oli Brown; blues festival: Hebdon Bridge; keyboard player: Paddy Milner.
Guitarist: Matt Schofield; bass player: Andy Graham; independent broadcaster: Gary Grainger; female vocalist: Chantel McGregor; instrumentalist: Becky Tate; lifetime achievement: Paul Oliver; British Blues Great: Andy Fraser, Del Bromham and Tony McPhee; Kevin Thorpe Memorial Award: The Bittersweet by Marcus Bonfanti.
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