Home Gigs GIG REVIEW: Chris Bevington Organisation with special guest Ritchie Dave Porter, Eleven Club, Stoke 31.02.2020

GIG REVIEW: Chris Bevington Organisation with special guest Ritchie Dave Porter, Eleven Club, Stoke 31.02.2020

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One thing you can guarantee is that when the CHRIS BEVINGTON ORGANISATION say they are playing Eleven in Stoke, the place will pack out to the rafters and the mood in the place will be off the scale.

Tonight was no exception as RITCHIE DAVE PORTER kicked things off nicely with a solo acoustic performance.

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The guy exudes the blues through his pores and he immediately sent a hush around the room as everyone listened intently as he opened with ‘I Got No Money’. It was clear that this was going to be relaxed set of southern/ Texan tinged blues.

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He is a skilled craftsman, great to not only listen to but to watch as he clearly loves his music. The tempo was pretty consistent throughout the set, smooth and easy on the ears, Ritchie has had extensive airplay and deservedly so.

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He closed out the set with Hendrix’ Voodoo Chile which he stripped back and gave it the all out blues treatment, very clever and he received the response he should have by way of the welcoming Stoke crowd.

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So, to the main act, THE CHRIS BEVINGTON ORGANISATION. I cannot emphasise how good this band is live, their albums are great with ‘Cut And Run’ firmly fixed on my playlist, the album full of original tracks are a joy to listen to but live, this band take on a whole new life. With 9 band members, the sound will always be big, horns, backing singers, guitars, keys, drums and of course Mr Bevington on the bass, they not only fill the stage but also the entire place with a wall of sound.

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Opening with ‘It’s Too Late’ Scott Ralph taking the lead vocals and rhythm guitar, ably assisted by Sarah Millar and Kate Robertson, the up-tempo guitar heavy song shows the band mean business. ‘Boogie Man’, ‘She Ran Away To The City’ followed before probably one of my favourites ‘61&49’.

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The guitars sounding amazing and the vocals just feel very real, sludgy riffs which build and get all lovely with slide work and the backing vocals just lifting it to another level.

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It always reminds me of a ‘Bonamassa’ type structure and so ably played by lead guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick, it’s a must for any blues fan to listen to. Cracking through the setlist interspersed with some chatter and much amusement from band and audience, it feels more like an intimate gig than a sell out Saturday night.

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Jim takes over the lead vocal duties for ‘Five Long Years’ originally recorded by Eddie Boyd in 1966. It’s been covered so many times by so many greats but hearing this live version by the band is just astounding. The keyboards from Dave Edwards are superb but it is the skill of Kirkpatrick that ensures this version is head and shoulders above others.

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I have said for a very long time that he is one of the best guitarists around, an exceptional blues player who can get such intricacy and preciseness, depth and lightness, it’s bloody epic! With his other band, FM, Jim shows his rock side with the soaring riffs and dual guitar harmonies which he is equally good at, but he really does shine in this setting, with the blues running through his soul which is so evident.

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Anyway…back to the music with the tempo kicking back up to the party feel of ‘Don’t Need No Doctor’ and ‘Got To Know’ the band are clearly enjoying the night too and numerous folks are getting down with the groove, it’s so infectious.

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THE CHRIS BEVINGTON ORGANISATION are one of those bands that you could pull up a chair and watch all evening, Neil McCallum on drums has the swing and the tempo to run the rhythm section with Chris Bevington himself on bass, without fault, Lewis Topping and Ben Oakes on horns (and cowbell!) add in the interest and together with the lovely ladies and aforementioned Scott and Jim this was another fabulous night.

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Review & Photography by Lindsay Smith for MPM

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