2Blue played a fantastic gig at the Railway Tavern on Friday night. The band exhibit the perfect balance between well known classics and lesser known gems of the blues scene. Their repertoire consisted of some great shuffle along with a few slower, chilled songs and also some straight, rockier stuff. The sets peaked and troughed in the right places and had a nice, comfortable flow to them.
Frontman Tone, also lead & rhythm guitarist, builds up a nice rapport with the audience from the beginning. He is personable and enthusiastic while also sporting a Clapton style relaxation to his playing. He has a strong versatile vocal. Bassist Andy is an extremely competent player. He does exactly what a bassist should; works with the drums to create a strong foundation, interprets bass lines in his own way and adds tasteful variation where appropriate.
Jon, the band's drummer, works wonderfully with the bass to keep the tracks trucking along. The band were kind enough to invite me up to play a couple of songs with them on bass and I have to say that Jon was a joy to play alongside. I have performed and recorded with so many drummers, some of whom I have found it very difficult to play along with. However, I felt instantly at ease with Jon. The sound is filled out beautifully by Russ on keys. The lovely classic Hammond sounds and slippery bluesy licks just added so much colour to the arrangements. Russ is obviously a very talented musician who is extremely comfortable and confident in the style.
Although the band has a frontman, an aura of confidence emanates from each player which shows that they all not only know what they are doing, but are also extremely familiar with each other. This adds to the audience's allowance to feel comfortable in the knowledge that the band will be doing a brilliant job. Their endings are strong and well conceived. and the changes were very fluid and obviously well thought through.
I also liked the band because they did not play songs like for like. They took the originals and extended them adding drum, guitar, bass and keys solos in order to give the musicians a chance to shine and do dome improvising. This keeps it fun for the band and a bit more interesting for the crowd.
2Blue did a great job of making the most of the venue. The Railway can be a difficult venue to play as a 4/5 piece as the section that fits this size band is on a higher level and has a pillar in front of it. This can make it a little tricky to work around, but the band did a great job anyway and the audience were attentive and enthusiastic.
All in all, a great gig and a fun night. If you get the opportunity to see them, leave the routine comfort of the sofa/living room/usual haunt for the evening. You will not be disappointed.
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