REVIEW – Mark Flanagan Band @ LSBC, Devizes – Saturday 26th February 2022

Talent to Spare!

Andy Fawthrop

First time up the hill for me this year, having missed the Mike Zito Band last week (too busy running the Winter Beer Festival and listening to The Lost Trades and The Rob Lear Band, since you ask – but that’s another story altogether).  Good to get back to Long Street Blues Club and its dependably great audience and atmosphere.…..

First up, in the support slot, was Lewis Clark who I last saw here back in October when he supported Jimmy Carpenter.  Again Lewis was playing solo, and yet again did nothing but impress with his stripped-back raw and emotional lyrics, accompanied by unfussy guitar work.  His lyrics are, as always, personal and intense; his songs simply command attention.  His set was greeted with rapturous applause, and rightly so.  Lewis was due to play the Sunday afternoon slot at the Southgate on Sunday, where I’m sure he’ll play to a different but equally appreciative audience.

Then for the main act of the Mark Flanagan Band.  Mark is a man who’s been round the block a couple of times, and nowadays plies his trade (amongst other things) as part of the Jools Holland travelling entourage.  In other words, he’s met and played with many of the greats in the music business, which provides him with a wealth of anecdotes and stories with which to regale the audience between numbers.

His trio hit the stage with no big fanfare, and throughout the evening maintained a quiet but purposeful subdued presence.  There were no big drum solos, no guitar fireworks, just a steady stream of competently-delivered laid-back blues, funk, boogie-woogie, folk, Cajun, you name it.  Mark fronted everything coolly and calmly, switching instruments, styles and anecdotes with consummate ease, even giving his band-mates George and Adam a couple of numbers break whilst he just carried on solo seemingly undisturbed and unflappable.

And we had songs – proper songs!  Each had its own back-story of course, either who it was about or the situation that had given rise to its inception.  There was some name-dropping – Clapton, Richards, Harrison – but it was never gratuitous or intrusive, simply adding colour to a great musical tapestry.  The crowd was won over, there was a two-number encore and we were done.  The amazing thing was that Mark hardly looked to have broken sweat – one cool performer!

Another 5-star great night of world-class music delivered by Ian Hopkins and his team – hats off!  And just take a look at the programme still to come during 2022 – a mouth-watering array of talent.  Get those tickets and get yourself along to Long Street Blues Club!

Future Long Street Blues Club gigs:

Saturday 19th March 2022                            Soft Machine

Saturday 2nd April 2022                                 Malone & Sibun Band

Friday 8th April 2022                                       Billy Bremner’s Rockfile (Corn Exchange)

Saturday 9th April 2022                                  Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy (Corn Exchange)

Saturday 16th April 2022                               Billy Walton Band

Friday 6th May 2022                                        Birdmens

Saturday 17 September 2022                      CSN Express (New Rescheduled Date)

Friday 14th October 2022                               Black Sabbitch (Corn Exchange)

Saturday 5th November 2022                       Alastair Greene Band


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