I took this photo on Thursday night from Seaview, Warrenpoint at about half ten. I had just come from the Whistledown Hotel after a live radio broadcast, which kicked off this year’s International Blues on the Bay Festival – I guess you can see why it has been given that title!
Over two hours we were treated to a fine array of music and styles – Jack, son of the late, great Gary Moore, joined Ian Sands’ band, The Bluez Katz, on stage. (He is such a young-looking musician, I was wondering whether he had to get up for school on Friday morning 🙂 )
Old favourites like The Reverend Doc, Robin Bibi, Mirenda Rosenberg and Mark Braidner belted out a couple of classic blues numbers and it was great to see a couple of female artists make her first appearance at the festival. Kathleen Pearson, originally from the US but now based in London performed with her band Kat & Co, and Coutney Giffin from Northern Ireland gave us a great bluesy rendition of ‘Hound Dog’.
The Reverend Doc does his stuff at the Whistledown Hotel, Warrenpoint
What I love about the radio broadcast is that it is a useful taster of some of the acts that will follow over the weekend, all so it gives you a chance to decide which of the seventy gigs you want to attend.
Last night, I popped in to hear a few tunes from Robin Bibi at the Marine Tavern and then moved on to the Foresters, where I was wowed by Alison McGrath and the Soulantics. This was a real big sound with not one, but two sax players. During a couple of numbers Alison sounded a bit like Amy Winehouse and on others like Suzanne Vega. Brilliant stuff.
Shortly I will head to my first gig of today at four – an acoustic set from the excellent Backbone Blues Band in the GAA Club Rooms and tonight, we have a date with Bill Miskimmons and his Band, Mercy Lounge. I have been recommending this gig to everyone as we saw them at the Woodstock Belfast Blues Festival last Autumn which I wrote about here on the blog after the event.
Tomorrow it is my absolute favourite festival performer, Pat McManus and his band. I have been following them around the north since I heard them for the first time at the blues festival several years ago. Pat is an original member of the band Mama’s Boys, who supported Thin Lizzy on their farewell tour.
More blues, please!