Music Review: Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

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Image Source: Liverpool Philharmonic

Written By: Mark Armstrong

Format: Music Show
Genre: Music
Date: July 15 2017
Location: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Jools Holland has been a staple of music for many years, with his talents ranging from singing to piano-playing to song-writing. His New Year’s Eve Hogmanay, in particular, stands out for its unique blend of music, entertainment and big-name performers covering a range of genres. Therefore, the prospect of seeing Jools and his crew performing live in person was a tantalising one, and so it proved, as the show was a superb platform to showcase the true art of music in its finest and purest forms.

Before the main show began, we were treated to Jack Lukeman. Jack, an Irish folk singer with previous experience of performing in Liverpool, delivered several stunning and unique vocal performances, with perhaps the best being his acapella version of Old Man River. This was an incredible rendition, and one of the true highlights of the evening with the greatest of respect to Jools and co.

Of course, Jools himself was in top form, as were his orchestra, delivering a wide range of rhythm & blues tunes, some without the need for lyrics and vocal skills, others using the beat and the words to get the Liverpool crowd up on their feet dancing. There was plenty of variety mixed in with the music to keep things fresh, and Jools was able to demonstrate his vast range of musical talents along the way.

Helping the show were the use of special guests. Louise Marshall and Beth Rowley were very good, but it was perhaps the well-known Ruby Turner who truly shone, and who earned one of the night’s biggest ovations upon her arrival. Her performances at the tail-end of the show were spectacular, elevating the standing of this show even further. The same can be said for Jools’ longtime drummer Gilson Lavis, who possibly stole the show with some truly spell-binding drum solos.

I also appreciated the simple yet very effective special effects, in particular the lighting which helped to convey the mood of specific songs, as well as making each tune seem different and unique. The one downside to the show that I found would be that there weren’t many instantly-recognisable songs performed, making it harder for the audience to sing along to, but this is only a minor thing, especially since the attendees were up dancing more often than not (and some may have been having too much of a good time in this regard!).

Summing this show up, then, if you’re a big fan of Jools Holland then you’ll have a great time, but even if this is your first introduction to Jools, you’ll still come away with a real appreciation for him, his team and for music in general. A topnotch production.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10 – Excellent