Mick Pini & Strange Blues
The Limelight Theatre,
For many years Leicester’s Mick Pini has been based in Germany, and when performing in the UK is accompanied by the band Strange Blues who opened this April Friday night in Aylesbury with two ZZ Top numbers; ‘Le Grange’ and ‘A Fool For Your Stockings’. Then in a flash the three piece of Phil Hainey (guitar), Simon Gilroy (bass) and Nick Murphy (drums) morphed into the Mick Pini Band, when, in this penultimate gig of the current UK tour, complete with the trademark beret Mr Pini took his place on the stage.
In this short performance Pini, a contemporary of Mike Vernon, in two sets treated us to a mix of originals and blues standards. The choice of material was a treat for those who love guitar blues and showed off Pini’s guitar artistry through his bright red Stratocaster. There were the great riffs of Memphis Slim’s ‘Stepping Out’, the singing guitar in ‘Big Legged Woman’, during which the band members had their own opportunity to show us what they can do, and there were the slow undertones in Muddy Walters ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’, an obvious favourite with the audience.
Opening the set was ‘Hard Cash’, from what will be the new CD, and we were immediately treated to some of that legendary guitar work that has been likened to that of Peter Green. The purely instrumental ‘Chunky Jam’ followed. The guitar-orientated blues just kept on coming with new numbers ‘Jumping Blues’, and ‘One Glass Of Water’ in the mix. The latter a slow and melancholic tune was expressive blues guitar, and one to lay back, close your eyes and let it wash over you.
After the break there was brooding rendition of 'Hey Joe' and a song of Peter Green's not often played by Mick; ‘Watch Out’. Bringing the evening to a close for me by far the best vocals of the night, ‘Standing In The Rain’, was left until the last. Another good blues night at the Limelight.
Words: Bronwen Harvey
Photo: Laurence Harvey