HRH Blues 4, O2 Academy Sheffield 14th &15th April 2018 . Apr20

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HRH Blues 4, O2 Academy Sheffield 14th &15th April 2018 .

 

HRH Blues 4, O2 Academy Sheffield 14th &15th April 2018 .

Welcome back to the steel city for the 4th HRH Blues: a weekend to see some of the legends of blues and many young and new and upcoming acts. Once again Royalty and VIP punters were going to get a short unplugged session on stage 2, but this time over two days. The bands on this Saturday afternoon were: 12.00 The Della Grants, 12.30 Brian Rawson Band, 1.00 Jim Kirkpatrick Heavy Weather and 1.30 The Rain breakers. I enjoyed the Della Grants set and at 1pm they were playing a full set on main stage so off I went.

Day One main stage The Della Grants. Having seen them kick off the day unplugged I was impressed and so were many others going by the fairly large crowd so early in the proceedings. They are a bunch of friends from Leicestershire: Max Manning and Tom Best sharing harmonica and guitar together, along with Andy Boulton on bass and Tom Waker on drums. They play what I call blues Americana with a rocky vibe, they are often joined by another friend, Tony Robinson, who plays organ, piano and trumpet. A nice change from guitars and drums, they played a good set of songs mixing the blues genres, and as I have always said to kick off a festival must be nerve racking – they showed none of it.

Next Jim Kirkpatrick Heavy Weather

Jim formally of FM and and the Bernie Marsden band, is an accomplished blues guitarist with over twenty years experience and is recognised as one of the best slide guitarist on the circuit. He often accompanies singer songwriter Thea Gilmore on her tours and now fronts the band Heavy Weather. Being early in the day, the crowd wasn’t so big for his entertaining performance, their loss.

Up next Danny Giles Band

Danny, who also plays guitar with the Will Wilde band and produced his latest album which I had the pleasure to review, is such a likeable chap; smiling and joking with the crowd all through his brilliant set playing old style delta blues and tunes from some of the legends gone by.

Having checked out the next act on YouTube, I was very excited to see Sari Schorr

If you love the blues and love guitar and want to hear a voice that will completely blow your mind then go see this lady, she has an immense vocal power and sings like her life depends on it. Never have I witnessed such emotion while singing songs than with this girl: she twists and gyrates around the stage and you could have heard a pin drop as everyone in the crowd was just stunned by this performance. Her unique twist to the classic Black Betty has to be seen not just heard: it was remarkable and she received rapturous applause after she had finished singing it. I cannot wait to see her again on stage – please please go out and see this amazing artist you will be mesmerized.

Time to see a band in stage 2 upstairs

The Black Hands: this Derbyshire four piece play southern blues rock foot tapping head bobbing music that the large crowd appreciated throughout. Having missed their set at last years HRH Blues, I was glad I managed to see them this time.

Back to the main stage for English born singer songwriter and blues guitarist Danny Bryant. This dude has been all over the world and played with legendary artists such as Buddy Guy, Joe Cocker and Carlos Santana. He certainly can play the guitar and had a fairly long set, but unfortunately just too many guitar solos for me that just merged into one long song.

Time for something to eat before I settle down to see the act that the crowd had filled the arena for, the legend that is Bernie Marsden.

He is one if the happiest guys I have ever seen on stage: forever smiling and telling stories of his past exploits but always entertaining. He showcased Whitesnake numbers and many songs off his latest album Shine and jokingly mentioning his new autobiography, Where’s My Guitar all through his set to endless laughter from the packed crowd. Well done Bernie, a great performance: no wonder the crowd kept yelling for more.

My aching foot was now playing up so I went upstairs to sit and see the final act of the night Pat McManus, the Northern Irish former Mamma’s Boys guitarist. I was disappointed, I’m afraid to say and after seeing Bernie do what he does best Pat opens his set with what seemed like a forty minute guitar solo and I had heard a lot of them already today! I don’t know if it was because I was getting tired, but apart from Belfast Boy, his wonderful tribute to his great friend the wonderful Gary Moore I was pretty underwhelmed, but overall a fantastic first day of blues and fun and laughs and I look forward to day two.

Review by Dave Martin & photos by Carol Henson aka Ladygigger.

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