15/10/2022 Climax Blues Band Review by Kev White

Climax Blues Band, arguably one of the most important Blues bands this country has ever produced, formed in 1967. Over the decades, in one form or another, they have been a constant presence on the British and international Blues scene.

Over the years the group has seen more line-up changes than Deep Purple! The long list of alumni is impressive to say the least and it includes drummer Jeff Rich and bassist John 'Rhino' Edwards who both went on to join Status Quo in the later part of the 1980s (Rich left in 2000).

Sadly, there is not one single member of the original group in the current incarnation. Various members have passed away or retired over the passage of time. The longest serving member and torch bearer is keyboard player George Glover who joined in 1981, he is joined by Graham Dee (vocals), Chris 'Beebe' Aldridge (saxophone), Neil Simpson (bass) and Dan Machin (guitars) all of whom are gifted musicians who have managed to breathe new life into the Mother ship and kept the band relevant, especially with the latest studio album 'Hands Of Time' released back in 2019.

Due to the unprecedented global events of the past couple of years, only now are Climax Blues Band able to play these new songs live, the strong material on the current release is coming across really well live and certainly has its rightful place amongst the well of material produced by the various incarnations over the decades.

The show tonight was split in two with a 15 minute interval, these mid set breaks have always been a bug bear for this writer who would sooner see a band play right through, the reason being that the gig is in full flow before breaking and then the group has to work hard at regaining and keeping the attention of the audience all over again. But, if it works for the band in question, all power to them.

There were times during the night when it felt like a musician's gig, with musical interludes, showcasing different members of the band which could potentially go on too long, it is a delicate balance especially when the musicians are masters of their chosen instruments. For instance, the Willie Dixon song, 'Spoonful' (famously covered by Cream) lasted the best part of 10 minutes but was expertly executed.

The set was made up of songs from the latest album, covers and classics. Stand-out tracks included the aforementioned, 'What's Your Name', 'Seventh Son', 'Hands Of Time', 'Ain't That A Kick In The Head', 'Hard Luck' and 'Couldn't Get It Right'.

A great night was had by all.