Rockin' The Blues (Eric Gales, Quinn Sullivan, Gary Hoey with special guest Lance Lopez)

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Rockin' The Blues (Eric Gales, Quinn Sullivan, Gary Hoey with special guest Lance Lopez)

Rockin' The Blues (Eric Gales, Quinn Sullivan, Gary Hoey with special guest Lance Lopez) - The Garage, London (UK) - 17 March 2018

It might be snowing outside but inside The Garage for Mascot/Provogue's Rockin' The Blues evening there's some smoking hot Blues from the USA to get the circulation pumping again. First up, and a great way to kick off the night, is Gary Hoey. He's a veteran these days, having been playing since the eighties, but he's rarely played the UK and he's clearly stoked to be here, sporting a 'Motörhead England' t-shirt to prove the point. He's American-cool in shades and tattoos, and he's lean and muscular like the music he plays. He knows how to work a crowd and has them onside early with his flash playing and easy banter.


gary hoey live 1

He gives us Blues on the slower 'Deja Blues' which throws shadows on the wall and this song has a distinct Robin Trower vibe, while 'Dust 'N' Bones' (from the excellent album of the same name) is tough as nails and classy Hard Rock. He's also playful on 'Who's Your Daddy', a knockabout chant-along song with an old-school Louis Jordon party feel. He ends his set with 'Hocus Pocus' (yep the Proggy, yodelling one) which was a hit of sorts for Hoey, playing the yodelling parts on his guitar and he gives an interesting back story about how it was the first riff he really latched onto playing in his garage as a kid. The previous night he was in the Netherlands and Jann Acckman of Focus joined him on stage for the song. He says what a lovely guy Acckman was, but he might as well have been talking about himself as Hoey comes over as a happy, grateful guy with a great muscular guitar technique and who I'm sure made more than a few new friends tonight.


gary hoey live 2

The old pro gives way to the young prodigy. Quinn Sullivan is only eighteen years old but plays like an old master and it's no wonder many are excited by him as he combines classy Blues Rock guitar with a more modern, (whisper it) poppy sensibility. Tonight, there's a sense he might have been better opening as his set doesn't hold the crowd as consistently as Hoey. He does have everyone's attention on the funky opener 'Lifting Off' and he digs deep on the covers of Jimi Hendrix's 'Little Wing' and Eric Clapton's 'Let It Rain' – eyes closed and head back, his fingers are guided by the ghosts of Blues greats.


quinn sullivan live

It's on these songs you hear his potency. Lead guitarist Andy Cortes of The James Bay Band joins him on stage as if to indicate that Sullivan has the potential to be as trendy as Bay. On 'Real Thing' and 'Going', his voice betrays its youth. It's good but is more Pop than raw Blues. However, his closing 'Midnight Highway' has a freewheeling Southern charm that suggests if Sullivan balances his marriage of old-school Blues with contemporary Pop Rock just right, as his song-writing develops then he just might become a household name. The Blues has had more than its fair share of prodigious young talents who never outdo their debut output, but I'll watch what he does next with interest. The M.C. Big Boy Bloater does his bit to whoop the crowd up between sets.



Headlining is Eric Gales, a man whose life story wouldn't fit in a film; you'd need a Netflix box-set series to do him justice. A life of ups and downs and ups again, he's the ideal vehicle for the Blues. Gales is in a great place these days and he has his wife, La Donna, on the road with him, adding some novel but effective percussion throughout his set. Last time he was over here was just after the Manchester bombing of the Ariana Grande concert and there was a tension back then and outpouring of emotion that carried over into to a truly electrifying performance. Tonight, he's a bit more laid-back, knowing he doesn't have to carry the whole evening as the jam at the end will provide the big bang. Still, he promises to give us "a hundred-thousand percent" and he does amaze with his array of playing and styles; Old Blues, chicken-scratch guitar, funk and even some modern effects on Freddie King's 'Boogie Man'. His heavy take on Buddy Guy's hypnotic 'Baby Don't Leave Me' has a bass sound that shakes a few fillings out of mouths. However, allowing a rather pedestrian bass and drum solo towards the end of his set stalls momentum. Of course, his mash-up of Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and more besides on his killer take on 'Voodoo Chile' makes amends for the drop in pace and he recovers enough to at least reach around ninety-nine thousand percent. If you've never seen him, don't let him pass you by.


eric gales live 1

Before the big jam finale, Gales invites his special guest Lance Lopez on stage. Lopez, promoting his new CD 'Tell The Truth' out the same week, is a Texan who is probably more famous these days for his work with his band Supersonic Blues Machine than he is for his solo work. He looks like a guitar-slinging Zorro and you've got to love a man who has a gold guitar. He and Gales tear through Lopez's cover of John Lee Hooker's 'Mr Lucky' and the title track of his new record, the latter working better as it shows off his heavy Texan Blues Rock and gravelly voice. Two songs aren't a lot, but it is probably enough for those watching to decide if they should pick up his new album at the well-stocked merchandise stand before they leave.


eric gales live 2

Finally, you can't really go far wrong when you have four guitarists of this quality jamming on stage together through 'Red House' and 'Going Down'; each have a chance to showcase their talents. Perhaps they are a little too polite and too respectful of each other, allowing each player space and perhaps some more competitive duelling might have created something even more killer. Nevertheless, this was a grade-A display of Blues Rock from all involved and a brilliant showcase of the talent Mascot/Provogue currently have on their books. Let's hope they do more of this kind of thing!

Duncan Jamieson

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