Davina And The Vagabonds – Robin 2 / Wolverhampton UK / Sept. 9th
Review and Photos : Graham Munn – SlapMag
Where to start, I am selective in the bands I see and review, too much hard work if your not likely to enjoy the music. I have seen some excellent bands and fine performances, rarely disappointed, but occasionally, you just have to revise your reference points.
Davina and The Vagabonds have defrag’d my hard drive, and written a new sector. They are just stupendously, bloody good. Its cream cake day, time to open that 50 year malt, words may fail me.
Davina sparkles with mischief on the piano, everything from beautifully soulful blues to full on barrel house, is at her fingertips. In her voice I hear elements of Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and Paloma Faith, in a fusion of Jazz and Blues.
The Vagabonds dovetail with Davina perfectly, superlative trumpet and trombone, from Dan and Ben, who both add to the vocals. Underpinned with double bass and drums from Andy and Alec.
The play is a mixture of New Orleans blues, Dixie, a bit of Rock & Roll, and large doses of jazz and blues. BUT, everything is delivered in their own style, whether its Fats, ‘Ain’t That A Shame’, Etta’s, ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ (superb) or Chuck’s ‘Nadine’. They are not a covers band, these songs receive original interpretation, and then some! Some lovely Trombone and trumpet work from Ben and Dan places ‘Nadine’ on a different level.
Self penned compositions liberally sprinkle the session, the deeply soulful ‘Blues Got A Hold Of Me’ contrasts with the tango rhythms of a cheeky ‘I Really Try To Be Good’, Eartha Kitt could not have done it better. ‘Lipstick And Chrome’ is a rollicking full on, swinging, Dixie band start, leading into Davina’s energetic boogie on the piano, ‘River’, runs deep into the blues waters.
Hold it there; its not just about the fabulous musical performance conjured up by this band, there is a huge bucket-load of humour and banter mixed in, the audience is drawn in to the fun. Davina vocally jousts with the sounds Dan can squeeze out of that horn. Have a look on You Tube for ‘St Michael Vs the Devil’, and you will get the idea and feel of Davina and co. ‘St James Infirmary Blues’ is to die for!!!
The whole evening seemed to pass in the blink of an eye, I wanted more, much more. The tour in the UK is brief, following an extensive time in Europe. I hope they all return soon, but don’t tell anyone else, I may not get through the door. Blues with a difference, indescribably wonderful.