Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra
Preston Guild Hall
You have to hand it to Jools Holland … he enjoys his work.
Attending one of his concerts is like dropping into an all-night party: loud music, dancing in the aisles and a feel-good factor that is off the scale.
I was one of the first on my feet, clapping and swaying along to Jools and his 16-strong band of phenomenally talented musicians.
Last time I saw him in action I was in no position to see his hands on the keyboard – this time I was perfectly placed to witness a blur of fingers and a permanent smile. I could almost hear him thinking “And I get paid to do this.”
His gigs are much like his TV show – with an eclectic cast of characters on the guest list, including on this occasion Roland Gift, former lead singer with 80s’ band Fine Young Cannibals, and the larger-than-life Ruby Turner, who regularly appears alongside Jools.
Gift belted out a handful of hits, including Good Thing (still sounds like Guilty to me) – and this was the only time that Jools looked bored, as he provided a repetitive, pedestrian accompaniment.
The audience, already in a frenzy of appreciation, appeared to love him: I found his appearance incongruous … but not surprising considering Jools can always be relied on to challenge your expectations.
Also in the mix was support act, Dublin-based singer songwriter Galia Arad, who produced laughs and a lump in the throat with her original, quirky lyrics - a great warm-up, followed by the only, very early, interval.
The baffled audience, on the whole, remained seated – a bit of a loser for the bar because once Jools and his band got on stage, they stayed ..for two mesmerising hours!
Enjoy yourself? Certainly did!
by Joyce Bishop