Edinburgh Blues Club with special guests Gerry Jablonski and The Electric Band & Lights Out By Nine

Voodoo Rooms
Friday 27th March 2015

gerry-jablonski-electric-band2015

On my third visit to The Edinburgh Blues Club (EBC) at the Voodoo Rooms and the following has definitely increased along with its success.  I was happy to see there was improved seating and table arrangements, but there were still not enough chairs to meet demand.  The EBC is a Social Enterprise established to create a specialised environment for the support of a monthly blues, to ensure that the people of Edinburgh city do not miss out on class-touring blues acts. The EBC is maintained on a membership subscription basis, where members pay £10 per month in return for access to all EBC events and newsletter. Tickets are also available to the general public via Ticketweb, Tickets Scotland and Ripping Records.

First up for the night were the Fifers, Lights Out By Nine who play powerhouse rhythm and blues, funk and soul and have developed a collection of their own original songs.  Signed by River Records they have released four original albums: “Moving On” along with a live set titled “The River Sessions,” “Good Morning Mr Universe” and “Make Your Own Luck”.  The bands front man is a new addition to the crew, long time friend and reputable soul and blues man – John Frame, who is accompanied by band members Alan Kyle, Dougie Hunter, George Morrison, Graham Key, John Beresford, Paul Haddow, Tom Stirling and Arthur Cook. Lights Out By Nine have a well established reputation on the live circuit, having supported Status Quo and Fish at the Rockhill Festival and opened shows featuring Dr Feelgood, Nazareth, Nine Below Zero and Wishbone Ash, as well as repeat shows with the Average White Band. In 2004 they covered festivals in Colne, The Wickerman, Skegness
and Maryport.

The first thing that struck me when Lights Out By Nine started playing was John Frame’s powerful voice, he belted out clear lyrics with a gravelly husky edge.  Supporting Frame was guitar, bass, drums, trumpets and saxophone.  The groovy tunes flowed. The horns provided tremendous fanfare solos. ‘It went all down the drain’ provided a mellow interlude before their self-proclaimed funkicology track; the guitarist provided most of the cheerful banter and encouraged the audience to take to the dance floor.  The shy audience remained in place, but there was definitely some shuffling on spot and bouncing heads!  ‘How long’ allowed Frame to master gruff vocals which was married well with the almost feminine soft backing vocals from the guitar, bass and keyboard player.  The guitarist admitted the set list was unplanned and the musicians discussed amongst themselves the order of play, but as a band they performed with ease and a relaxed manner, demonstrating a slick and professional ensemble.  ‘Laughing on the other side’ was introduced as their devil music, followed by an amusing anecdote about performing it in a church.  They told us that it was not the first time they had crossed musical paths with tonight’s headline act Gerry Jablonski and The Electric Band, they thanked them for the music gear but joked they would be getting it back!  It was explained that Frame doesn’t talk much because “he can’t get a work in” Frame interrupted, but he was actually just saving his singing voice the man with the chat – guitarist proclaimed! As time moved on and more drinks were sunk, member of the audience grew in confidence and filled the dance floor.  They finished on a funky number dedicated to James Brown, which really got people moving.  A belter of a band guaranteed to please.

After a brief interval for a raffle with an impressive set of blues CDs from past performers up for grabs, the headline act Gerry Jablonski and The Electric Band followed.  Aberdeen’s longest standing and most gifted four-piece blues rock powerhouse band.  Front man Gerry has been a performing strong in the Scottish music scene for 30 plus years and his guitar playing is well treasured. Tragically founding member, drummer and dear friend, Dave Innes, lost his fight with cancer, but the band vowed to continue performing in his memory. Gerry’s latest ensemble sees the new addition Polish blues harp phenomenon Pete Narojczyk and more recently young lad Lewis Fraser on drums who can sing too!  One member of the audience even jokingly heckled, “he sings better than you Gerry!”  Along with the bassist, Grigor Leslie they play original music in honor to the blues rock classics that have influenced this band.  With a committed work strategy the band have
totaled four massive and triumphant Polish tours, tours in Holland, Germany and Norway and played all the main UK blues festivals.

From the start the band explode onto the stage, wowing the audience with their authentic gutsy performance. Jablonski has grown into an experienced, entertaining showman. The Edinburgh Blues Club saw him and the band giving it their all.  Jablonski’s high-energy stage presence is mesmerising, he struts and strides across the stage, arms flailing and pulling tremendous facial expressions.  This comical character maintains enormous energy throughout the entire set, springing about like a newborn lamb!  The groovy music is complimented by the talented harmonica player, Narojczyk. Superb harmonica solo echoes around the ballroom filling the entire venue in soft warmth along with Jablonski’s extensive guitar solos.  The energy relaxed for a moment as drummer, Lewis Fraser sings a mellow number with just Jablonski on guitar to accompany him initially and then the drum, bass and harmonica followed on.  At one point between tracks, Jablonski increases the
guitar volume and blows into the guitar strings, sending a soft strum to wave across the audience. It was good to see a number of die-hard fans in the audience knowing every lyric and relishing the performance. An encore was commanded and Jablonski finished with an iimpressive guitar solo.

Reviewer : Sarah Lewis

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