at the Wolverhampton Civic
Reviewed by Shelley Owens
High up in The Balcony at the Wolverhampton Civic, on a barmy summers evening, I realised two very important things. Firstly it had actually been 9 whole years since my last visit which is clearly far too long and secondly, we were in for a fantastic night! There was a buzz amongst the audience and the faint aroma of beer drifted through the air as it only can at a more intimate venue – the perfect atmosphere for an evening of Rhythm and Blues. The Wolverhampton Civic is a favourite venue amongst performers for that very reason, a stadium tour is one thing but there's a lot to be said for that up close and personal feeling that the Civic offers. It is easily accessible, staff are friendly and helpful and our drinks were no more expensive than you would expect at this type of venue.
Our warm act was none other than Chris Holland and the apple clearly doesn't fall far from the tree. A talented young musician, song writer and singer, he set the mood for the evening perfectly before taking his place alongside his father and the other members of the band as they performed for 2 hours to a packed out audience.
Members of the band had the chance to showcase their phenomenal talent, stepping into the spotlight throughout the show and receiving a rousing round of applause from the crowd – everyone had their chance to shine! Local bass player Dave Swift enjoyed the loudest reception of all, nobody can accuse the Wulfrunians of not being proud of their own!
Jools Holland is an incredibly talented live musician, with amazing stage presence and charisma. Teaming up with featured artists and special guests this was a show with both new and established talent and it was Fine Young Cannibals frontman Roland Gift who got the audience on their feet and dancing in the aisles! A stunning rendition of Elvis Presley's Suspicious Minds will go down as one of my all-time favourite performances and ladies I have to tell you, Roland has still got a "Good Thing" going on!
Proving just how talented we are here in the Midlands, when Birmingham Soulstress Ruby Turner took to the stage the atmosphere went up a notch. A regular performer with Jools and the band, they created that something special that Rhythm and Blues has. That soulful, gospel tone in a venue just intimate enough to create a jazz club atmosphere was truly magical. Looking down at the crowds in the aisles, everyone was on their feet and up in the balcony the audience were leaving their seats to dance on the standing area behind! It was hand clapping, foot tapping, hip wiggling, boogie woogie up there I tell you!
The audience turned performers as we sang along and enjoyed an encore that can only be described as a mass jamming session when the band and musicians returned to the stage one by one – definitely a night to remember for a long, long time!
For being the perfect venue for a truly memorable performance, my evening with Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Band gets a huge 5/5 from me!
Jools Holland and his band continue the tour throughout the year with Roland Gift being replaced as special guest by Melanie C in October.
For more details follow the link here: www.joolsholland.com/tourdates.htm
To catch more great acts at the Wolverhampton Civic go to : www.wolvescivic.co.uk/-/home
We found their website particularly helpful and straightforward when looking for information on collecting tickets so that gets an extra thumbs us from us!