REVIEW: Jools Holland, Milton Keynes Theatre

Jools Holland: 'Great arrangements and feel at the fore...'
Jools Holland: 'Great arrangements and feel at the fore...'

Jools Holland visited Milton Keynes Theatre on Friday night, bringing his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra along for a memorable musical ride.

Nick Jones was in the audience...

Jools Holland got his left hand boogie pattern going to bring his R&B Orchestra in on the opening number, and this put the sold-out venue crowd in the mood for what was to come.

Great arrangements and feel were at the fore – Jools had us all rocking and doing call backs right from the off.

Rico Rodriguez came forward from his trombone position to do vocals on Don’t Roll Those Bloodshot Eyes at Me, while backing vocalists Louise Marshall and Rosie Mae gave us a song each too.

Accentuate the Positive, the Arlen/Mercer penned standard being Rosie’s chosen number.

As the evening progressed, Jools introduced Roland Gift, beginning with a rousing Suspicious Minds and concluding with Fine Young Cannibal’s Good Thing. Great stuff.

Most of the orchestra were featured soloists at some point, with Gilson Lavis in the spotlight giving a wall of sounds from his drumkit.

The audience absolutely loved it.

Soon it was time for Ruby Turner to let her voice loose on some rocking boogie numbers which also had Louise and Rosie sharing vocals on another standard – Ok, Alright, You Win.

All too soon we had the encores, When You’re Smiling and Enjoy Yourself. And we most certainly did.

Support came from Red Sky July – former Aleisha’s Attic sister Shelly Poole, her husband (and Texas guitarist) Andy McErlaine and Charity Hair.

Already Gone, and Run To The Church - this latter one lifted from their forthcoming CD, were highlighted.

The melody and harmonies were all there and with guitar and violin accompaniment made for a very nice opening set.

As for Jools?

Watching the parade of industry artists on ‘Later with...’ is fine, but watching Jools in his live prime is all the better.