Well, that was big fun!

Watching Ben Poole over the last couple of years has been an education as he has developed a stronger sound and moved away from being a generic Blues guitarist.
Last night’s show at the legendary Half Moon really did show how far he has come since the last time I saw him at the O2 Islington where the slightly diffident but passionate young man has now become more confident, more comfortable onstage and altogether more the finished product.

With producer Wayne Proctor on drums, Joe Mac on keyboards and Beau Barnard on bass, the band struck up a really insistent groove from the opening notes of ‘Take It No More’, filled with soul and with Ben’s guitar sharp and edgy.

He has always had a lot of soul in his music and the new album takes that and puts a more powerful undertone to it. The writing on the new one is definitely a step up from his previous work and the new numbers came over really well.

The place was packed and I do mean ‘ask permission before you breathe’ packed. The crowd was varied both in age and gender and from my vantage point at the side of the venue, they were having a great time.

Poole switched between Telecaster, Gibson and a very battered Strat, keeping his guitar sound fresh and lively and the solos flew off his frets with lots of variation – a really pleasant change from the many guitarists who have their ‘sound’ and don’t deviate from it.

Apart from his encore of ‘Dirty Laundry’ the only cover last night was a brilliant version of Freddie King’s ‘Have You Ever Loved A Woman’ with Poole taking the intensity up and down and really putting on a bravura performance of that well loved classic.
The rest were tracks from his ‘Anytime You Need Me’ album and a couple from the ‘Time Has Come’ album from a couple of years back.

He played for around 90 minutes, finishing of a stunning version of the title track from the new album and that encore of ‘Dirty Laundry’.

Support for the night was from the excellent Matt Pearce & The Mutiny and their half-hour set was a brilliant introduction – I haven’t heard them before but I’ll be looking out for them in future.

All told, a brilliant night and prof that in Ben Poole one of the bright stars of British Blues is coming into his own.