Friday, 1 April 2016

Caught Live: Phil Bates @ Ruthin All Styles Music Club 31/03/16

Phil Bates (Photographs by kind permission of Neil Keighery)
#1,086: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The unfortunate controversies that have followed Phil Bates and his performances of the music of ELO have sadly clouded his reputation as a singer, songwriter and consummate professional musician. Yet this former integral member of noted bands Quill, Trickster, ELO Part II, The Orchestra (former members of ELO & ELO Part II) and Bev Bevan's incarnation of The Move has so much more in his musical locker than the unfairly perceived notion that he is a "Jeff Lynne copycat".

His spellbinding performance at the intimate and homely Ruthin All Styles Music Club in North Wales on the evening of Thursday 31st March more than proved his pedigree as a top class guitarist with a twenty two song set of premier blues, original compositions and select covers - albeit with a little enjoyable support from his friends: the singers and players of the above institution. We heard just the one ELO and two Beatles acoustic interpretations - a wonderful rendition of "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" as well as "She's A Woman" and "I Saw Her Standing There" but this concert was more about the music of Phil Bates and the music that sparks his musical fires.
Whether it was newer songs "You'll Never Be Alone" and "Empty Rooms" or the older "One Sky" and "Life In the Slow Lane", Phil's own material slotted in perfectly with the smooth Blues of "I Need Your Love So Bad", "Mississippi River Blues", "The Sensitive Kind" and "Hard Times Come Again No More".  The deep sorrow of the Blues was balanced by succinct observational irony of "Going Overboard" and "Waiting For the Sh*t To Hit The Fan" yet the highlight of the night for this writer was surprisingly not that wonderful ELO cover but a sublime version of Ray Davies' "Waterloo Sunset" - as Phil said, one of THE greatest songs to come out of the Sixties.

So there you have it folks. Not only has Phil Bates played a major part in keeping the music of ELO live "All Over The World" (so to speak) for over twenty years - whilst the EJLO spaceship was in effective mothballs - he's also an accomplished proponent of the Blues and much, much more. This was my first Phil Bates gig since November 2012 and it was well worth the wait - and the journey!
ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Phil Bates to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 01-Apr-2016

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