This section of the site is where you'll find reviews of both gigs and CD's.
The reviews are included largely unedited ( except for formating etc ) and represent solely the views and oppinions of the reviewer. They do not represent the oppinions of the blues site or the Bullfrog Blues Club.
If you have seen a blues gig locally (any where in reasonable travelling time can count as local, even Southampton!) or a local band elsewhere and would like to send in a review then send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
EXCELLO BLUES LEGENDS
Earl Gaines & Al Garner ( wih Mo'Indigo )
Thank's for the review Dave. The next gig thet Earl and Al are doing int the area is at the Brook in Southampton on September 27th. Pictures of this gig will follow soon.
Now that Dave's started the ball running lets have some more revues from all you blues fans out there!
With Claude Bourbon
The Bullfrog Blues Club - November 1st 2001
Well what a great start to November at the Bullfrog. King Rollo was excellent! One of my favorite performers so far. Here's a copy of the review I submitted to alt.music.blues An excellent newgroup for those with an interest in blues music.
*** Begin of forwarded message *** Date: 02-Nov-01 02:29:28 From: Andy
The Naughty Rhythms Tour 2001
The Bullfrog Blues Club - November 18th 2001
250 people got out of their armchairs to listen to four acts collectively know as The Naughty Rhythms Tour 2001.
First up were the Kurshaal Flyers who are making a comeback after a short period of success in the 1970's. While they tried hard their songs are less than memorable and arguably you could see much better in your local boozer. Still they filled in half an hour while I queued for a round of drinks.
Next up was John Otway and his faithful side kick Richard Hogarth. Having seen John many times I knew what to expect but the man has the ability to make you laugh at his jokes and gymnastic knockabout humour time after time. From his one and only hit (so far) Oh Baby, That's Really Free to the audience participation number 'House of the Rising Sun' John provides the real warm up act for the evening. 'Body Talk' encapsulates all that is John Otway with his use of drum pads secreted about his body, the introduction of his birthday present the Theremin, his matchstick body getting into positions that make makes John Cleeses' 'Ministry of Silly Walks look tame and Richard belting out classic glam rock licks. In an insane world John Otway helps his audience retain some vestiges of sanity by making us laugh.
Dr. Feelgood was next after a break. I have not seen them since Pete Cage left and had heard mixed reviews. However Robert Kane in his long coat and dark glasses has fitted in seamlessly. He is also a good harp player and while his voice is not as distinctive as Lee Brilleaux or Pete Cages he has done well to keep the Feelgood factor going. All the classics were played from Milk and Alcohol, Down to the Doctors, Nadine, Back in the Night and Down by the Jetty. The last is a showcase for Steve Walwyn on guitar who builds his solo up to a manic crescendo. Called back for an encore they played Mad Man Blues with great solos from Steve and Robert on harp. Feelgood give the audience what they want - R&B at it's best.
Finally Canned Heat took the stage. Showing my age I admit that the last time I saw them was in the late sixties when Flower Power was at its zenith - hmmm! Kicking off with their biggest and most well known song, On The Road Again was a brave thing to do because you then anticipated that their set would get better and better. In reality it was patchy. The band was tight and the two guitarists played well. The lead singer who looked like someone from the Tooting Popular Front switched instruments playing harp, flute and saxophone. Their set included other hits such as Goin' Up the Country and Let's work together finishing with a flurry of out and out R&B boogie numbers.
After an hour they were gone and a band from my past had served up memories of times gone by even though there is only one original member left.
Judging from the audiences' reaction during the evening I would say that John Otway was the runaway success followed by Dr. Feelgood. I always judge an act by asking myself -would I see this band again? With John Otway and Dr. Feelgood the answer has to be yes. Sadly I would not bother to see the Kurshaal Flyers as they did nothing for me but then again they might please other people. With Canned Heat it was a nostalgia thing and I have now laid another ghost of the sixties to rest.
Thanks for this review Clive, just one comment .... it's the 'Kursaal' Flyers!
The Bullfrog Blues Club - March 14th 2002
On a cold, wet and windy night a group of hardy souls ventured out to be war med up by The Gwyn Ashton Band and what did we get? Red hot blues rock that left you with a warm glow when it was time to leave and face the elements. Gwyn hails from Australia and has been tagged as the guy who plays like Rory Gallagher. As someone who followed the career of Gallagher I was interested to know if Gwyn was in fact a tribute band to a great guitarist or whether he had a wider reportoire - and the answer is he has. From the first few note s you knew that he was someone special as he played a range of songs by Fred dy King, Albert Collins, Muddy Waters, Rory Gallagher and many of his own compositions, some taken from his excellent CD 'Feel the Heat'. Gwyn, ably backed by his American drummer and Swiss bassist, just got better and better as the evening went on.
Comparisons with Rory are inevitable and there is no doubt that he draws his inspiration from the late guitarist even down to the acoustic solo numbers when he switched to playing a dobro but what the hell - he is more than capa ble of filling the large hole in the Blues rock scene that was created when Rory died. I also detected shades of Walter Trout in both his slow and up te mpo numbers. Having said that he is prepared to experiment with standards an d give them his own interpretation. I was also impressed by his slide guitar work and the slow blues songs which he slowly cranked up to a frenzy, squeezing notes out of his guitar with a genuine passion.
How good is he? Well I for one would go and see him again tomorrow if he was available. As far as I can recall there was not one weak song in his set - a rare thing even with great musicians. When he finished his set the audienc e cheered for more. Often this cry for an encore is an audiences way of gett ing their pound of flesh but last night was a genuine plea for more excellen t music. What is amazing is that Gwyn should be playing in large 500 plus ve nues but I feel extremely lucky that I saw him play in the intimate atmosphe re of the Bullfrog Blues club. Once again the Bullfrog Blues Club has brough t new talent to Southsea and this club is setting new standards each week as the acts seem to outdo each other. I cannot remember a gig over the past five years that I have enjoyed more.
Thanks for yet another review Clive! It would seem from reading this page that we only review gigs at The Bullfrog Blues Club,
however, this is just because they are the only reviews we've been sent!
Somebody send us a review from else where...please!
Memo Gonzalez and the Bluescasters
Bullfrog Blues Club, Southsea, Thurs, Jan. 23rd
After a slow beginning John Roberts' >Bullfrog Blues Club seems to be going from strength to strength. Certainly a very healthy crowd turned out on a cold night for the club's "Winter Times Blues Mini-Festival". Following a disappointing opening set by the much-hyped Michael Messer and Ed Gennis (Michael Messer - decent slide guitarist, average singer, mediocre songwriter, little stage presence or "feel"), the evening began for real when the Bluescasters took the stage.This multi-national band (German guitarist, Turkish bassist, Italian drummer) warmed up the audience a treat for the entrance of mainman Memo Gonzalez. And what an entrance! Weighing about 23 stone, this Mexican-American native of North Texas is an imposing figure, with a pair of lungs to match. From his first song he proceeded to cook up a storm which never subsided throughout a non-stop two-hour set of blues, boogie, shuffles, swing and good-old rock and roll, his mighty vocals punctuated by Howling Wolf style harmonica-raw, unsophisticated and powerful. He was backed up superbly by the Bluescasters, who were visibly having a ball throughout the proceedings. Particularly impressive was the playing of guitarist Kai Strauss, one of the hottest non-American bluespickers this reviewer has ever had the pleasure of seeing. His T-Bone Walker style swing instrumental, complete with Walker's trick of playing the guitar behind his head, was simply stunning! All in all a dynamic and hugely enjoyable performance which had the delighted crowd yelling for more. John Roberts and the Bullfrog Crew deserve congratulations for bringing acts of this calibre to the area, and for staging Blues gigs in Southsea on a weekly. basis. Why not give them your support?
PETE HARRIS BLUES BAND
Bullfrog Blues Club, South Parade Pier
Pete Harris is generally better known in folk music circles, when he's teamed with Mick Ryan, but last week at The Bullfrog Blues Club on South Parade Pier he showed a different side and proved his worth as an extremely talented bluesman! Mind you, the band were no slouches either, with Mark Houghton's harp well to the fore in many of the songs, whilst the rest of the band kept a rock solid back beat throughout. Pete's versatility shone as he effortlessly changed from guitar to mandolin on some numbers, in which his style was reminiscent of the great Ry Cooder, proving that sublety will always shine through volume and three chord tricks.
It's refreshing to find a musician of Pete's calibre who is so good at two differing styles of music, but the blues is only American folk music after all. And what IS folk music? The great Louis Armstrong got it right when he asked to define folk music "Well, I ain't never hear no horse sing". If the Pete Harris Blues Band are near you, don't you dare miss them, you'll have a treat in store, and not a singing horse to be seen.....