Open the doors. Open the bar.  Turn down the lights. Turn up the cooool.

Roll out the Good Times.

Get ready for a night of classic Blues…from a band of Brisbane’s best players.

Aaron West led the way with his rack-full of guitars, including a Telecaster, a baritone-tuned Stratocaster, a Coodercaster, (named for Ry) and an acoustic.

He provided much of the lead guitar and vocal across the night, but surprised us by switching to the drums for the Huey Lewis number, ‘Bad Is Bad’.

He was obviously very happy and at home behind the kit, while Chris Stevenson and his locally modified Kinman Strat, took over on lead guitar and vocal duties.

Aaron’s stint on the drums gave James Sandon the opportunity to get back to his first instrument, the tenor sax. (James was switched on to drums at the last minute, when the original drummer, Terepai Richmond injured a shoulder in a surfing accident). James’ drumming was great, but oh, it would have been nice to have heard more of that sax!!

But wait. There’s more. The band had the luxury of a third guitarist, in Kirk Lorange, (No apostrophe!!), who helped to power this great night of guitar-driven, gravelly-voiced Blues, by playing slide on his Strat and chipping in on lead vocal for a couple of numbers.

Rounding it all out beautifully, were John Whyte on keys and Chris Pearson on electric bass. And towards the end of the evening, Dr Bob (Harley) stepped up for a guest appearance, on bass for Jimmy Reed’s ‘Bright Lights. Big City’.

Running an eye across our Brisbane River-backed stage, it was obvious that these guys, each looking so casual and cool, were oh, so comfortable together. And although they were playing for the first time in this configuration, their seemingly, oft-unscripted mix and match approach came off. It worked. Really well!! (Although I wondered how they decided who should play lead guitar on any given tune, with three great players to choose from!?!)

The night was billed as, ‘Aaron West returns to his roots, with a night of Blues. From the Delta sounds of Robert Johnson, Son House, etc, to Lightning Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Chicago Blues of Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter…to the modern take of Robben Ford and Stevie Ray Vaughan’.

And that is exactly what they gave us.

The full house, capacity crowd of Brisbane Jazz Club Blues fans, just loved it.

And so did I!!

Alan Smith

Brisbane Jazz Club