Review: Stormy Monday

At The Old Neptune, Saturday 12th January 2013

 

‘They call it stormy monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad' … so goes the opening line of the classic blues song from which this great soul and blues band derive their name; having been to a few of their gigs now, somewhat spookily each time it rained on this punter! Could there have been some voodoo at work ?… if you’ve ever witnessed James Bradley their enigmatic singer and blues harp player supreme take command of a stage for a work out of Got My Mojo Workin' then you might consider it entirely possible!

 

Stormy Monday also include in the band, Geoffrey Sandiford, acoustic guitar and vocals, Jonathon Webb, lead guitar and the excellent rhythm section of Tim Long, bass, and Adrian Madden, drums, who as skilled veterans of the live circuit together present an exhilarating and high quality show.

Beginning the set with a powerfully ascendent version of Howlin’ Wolf’s Who's Been Talking it was evident that while this band always delivers a top of the range show, that they were on particularly outstanding form. Soon there was dancing, and the cognoscenti gathered closer to the band to absorb what proved to be a stunning evening of songs carefully chosen to segue satisfyingly and resonate with each other.

Stormy Monday at the neppy

James Bradley is not only the possessor of a deep emotive and expressive singing voice and a fine blues harp player, he also exudes a shamanic presence entirely in keeping with for example one of their finest covers; I Put A Spell On You during which time seems to stop until the mesmerising performance ends, going several miles beyond being just entertainment.

 

It’s not all intensity though by any means, with marvellous takes on Muddy Waters' Champagne & Reefer for instance, and plenty of low down blues such as I Wanna Do Bad Things With You and That Same Thing, also we were treated to a terrific run through of James Brown’s I Feel Good. With a change of pace Geoffrey Sandiford took the vocal on a lovely interpretation of Tom Waits song Long Way Home; a line from this states 'Got a head full of lightning, a hat full of rain' and seems almost to define this hard working and eclectic band.

 

An entrancing and beautiful rendition of Hendrix’s Hey Joe featuring Jonathon Webb’s superb playing closed the show peaking in exhilarating style with the audience hollering for "More!", but 'Time' had been called and we were returned to the linear and mundane world. So off we went into the damp and drizzling night, but secure in the knowledge we’d be back next time Mr Bradley and the band are blowing up a storm through the town.

 

Submitted by Nigel