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THE CASBAH CLUB/Deborah Bonham Band
Mean Fiddler 2 December 2004

A VFM bill tonight as there is three artists with singer/songwriter Lee Paterson getting things underway. He has very heartfelt and passionate vocal delivery, couple with some fine self-penned tunes that tackles issues ranging from mental health to female bar staff! Well worth seeing live and a good start to the evening.

Why Deborah Bonham doesn’t have more recognition is a mystery as she has a superb blues meets soul vocal and fairly belts out the classic ‘Stay With Me Baby’, who along with Sam Brown, is one of the UK’s most underrated female vocalists. The band is very tight musically and features drummer Jerry Shirley (Humble Pie/Blind Faith) amongst the line-up. A good mix of blues rock with a touch of soul and the set is rounded of in mellow style by ‘The Old Hyde’, a song dedicated to the Bonham’s family home.

The Casbah Club returns for their second London gig this year. The line-up features ex-Big Country members’ guitarist Bruce Watson, drummer Mark Brzezicki and keyboard player Josh Phillips joined by former Jam bassist Bruce Foxton and Silencers’ vocalist JJ Gilmour.

As you’d expect the set features many Big Country and Jam classics including a thundering version of ‘Going Underground’ and those chiming trademark Big Country guitars on ‘In A Big Country’. One of my personal Big Country favourates gets an airing, the highly catchy ‘King Of Emotion’ and ‘Ships’ shows the mellower side of the band, with vocalist JJ Gilmour putting in a heartfelt vocal. Never being a fan of the Jam I was surprised at how good the 60’s feel of ‘Butterfly Collector’ was! Strangely the audience is very subdued until near the end of the set but I suppose none of us are getting any younger!

A fine evening’s music and for the Casbah Club the big test will be now be how their new songs stand up to the band’s collective musical heritage.

Review: Jason Ritchie

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