Opening night of London Blues week and it kicked off with a real blast, a sellout of London’s famous 100 Club for Chantel McGregor and able support from Lisa Mills.

Chantel McGregor started out as a fairly girly Blues singer/guitarist but she has developed into a serious rocker and her guitar playing is as good as any of the other axe slingers around at the moment. Add to that her sultry vocals and little girl looks and she has a very strong effect on audiences of multi-age groups and genders.

The set last night kicked off with a belting version of ‘Take The Power’ from her second album ‘Lose Control’. Stretching out the solos and ably abetted by bassist Jake Dickens and drummer Oliver Goss.

She split the songs between her first and second albums and it was clear which direction she has gone in from the lighter and more ethereal material of the first album – ‘Freefalling’ & ‘Caught Out’ – and the darker and more intense material from ‘Lose Control ‘ – ‘Your Fever’, ‘Anaesthetize’ (beautifully played on acoustic guitar) & ‘Killing Time’ – but the real feature all through was her superb guitar playing and the tightness of the three of the musicians on stage. Even when they tore up Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Help Me’ after never having rehearsed it before the sound was right on the money. ‘Inconsolable’ and a new one ‘April’ stretched out into full on jamming and she closed with a killer ‘Walk On Land’. Encore ‘Burn Your Anger’ had the crowd bopping like loons and send the crowd home with big smiles.

Earlier, we had a solo set by Lisa Mills and her southern fried voice and strong guitar set the crowd up really well. She really warmed the audience up and their applause at the end of her short set was genuine – love to see her play a full set with a band sometime.

London Blues Week is becoming well established and with shows like this, the week is going to be a good one. Next up for me is Sugaray Rayford on Thursday and Sharrie Williams & Sari Beth Schorr on Friday.