Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Little Axe: Plan B - Brixton 21/05/10

Little Axe: Plan B - Brixton 21/05/10
Little Axe: Plan B - Brixton 21/05/10 Little Axe: Plan B - Brixton 21/05/10 Little Axe: Plan B - Brixton 21/05/10 Little Axe: Plan B - Brixton 21/05/10

I'd never witnessed Little Axe so i was somewhat intrigued to see what they were like on stage. 'Bought For A Dollar Sold For Dime', their excellent new album out on the prestigious Realworld label has a real live feel to it but could this be replicated on their key london album launch night? Would the devil be in the detail?

In a word yes! Once i 'd got over the shock there was no Doug Wimbish (bass) and Keith Le blanc (drums) it didn't take long to fit into the band's hypnotic groove. 'Hammerhead' an old Tackhead song was the first tune i recognised from the new album. Skip Macdonald (little Axe himseIf) was on fine form, mischievous and impish with a twinkle in his eye, Skip bent out the blues in his own inimitable fashion.

He's a fascinating performer and when he's in the spot light, the magic starts. Sublime guitar playing choice, resourceful and perpetually stylish, this prince of the pentatonic playground really does assist the alchemical process when his silvery riffs shine like gold, kings' gold not fools gold!

'Ride On' with it's 'funky drummer' type loop intro sounded glorious. I remember that track way-back in 1992. It's still a thunderous tune and an absolute show-stopper. It was good also seeing Adrian Sherwood at the mixing controls too he was happy as a kid still in love with his Meccano set dubbing up the drums and reggaefying proceedings majestically.

Other highlights 'It's Too Late' like Marvin's ecology song but with heavy guitar and boy when Skip unleashes take cover! Like BB King he puts a lot of feeling into each note and then he'll choke the life out of it with squeals and screams ringing out into the ether.

Still having the passion must be the key to Skip's incredible career. Tonight saw him and his backing band in the throes of ecstasy relishing the opportunity to spread the word and keep the blues alive in the 21st century. The topics are still relevant today and will always be while there's humans they'll be the blues, that's for sure. Tonight the axe man cameth and slew his fans but very few indeed can slaughter him!
Words Emrys Baird

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