Britain in 2014 has a lively and burgeoning Blues scene and last night’s packed gig at the Academy showed off one of the new pretenders as well as a resurgent ‘Old name’ sandwiching the best of Anglo/American Punk Blues in the shape of Well Hung Heart.

First up were the retro-Rockers from Manchester, Federal Charm. Driving sounds and a great guitar sound went with some fine harmonies and when they slowed down for a slow Blues they showed that they are a lot more than a one-paced pony. Standout for me was ‘No Money Down’, a funky rocker with a brilliant solo and massive drum sound. The crowd took to them pretty damn fast and they did enough to suggest that their visit to the 100 Club in May will be well supported.

I would guess that Easter is a good time for the Duracell Bunny and in the non-stop shape of Greta Valenti of Well Hung Heart we got plenty. WHH are primarily a link between The Hoax’s Robin Davey and Ms Valenti (his wife) and the music is hot, loud and punchy as all hell. Davey plays wicked guitar (he plays bass for the Hoax) and his hot solos are a perfect foil for Valenti’s all action vocals and dancing. They have a new album out (review later this week) and they featured a selection frtom the new album as well as some of their treatments of classics. ‘Big Plans’ and ‘Hellaby’ were the kickers but their set was great from start to finish.

The Hoax are in a second incarnation having had their prime a few years back before splitting up but they put the word out to their fans and the Pledge target was met in days resulting in ‘Big City Blues’ – still one of my most listened to albums of the last few years. Opening with a harmonica howl from Jon Amor and featuring some great guitar from Jess Davey (Robin’s brother) they plundered the album and hit the mark time and again. ‘Hipslicker’ was a monster and ‘Stick Around’ got the crowd seething. The jam with Ian Siegal at the end had the crowd in raptures.

It may be a bit early for gig of the year plaudits but this was definitely up there with the best. They are still on tour – don’t miss them.