Jack Broadbent/Ronnie Wood
Thursday 21st November 2019
Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
With four albums out to date, Jack Broadbent released his brand new record ‘Moonshine Blue’ on Friday 15th November, and consequently Jack was recently on a UK/European tour that included supporting Ronnie Wood, no less, at London's Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Thursday 21st November. The album's produced by Jack himself with Bruce Cameron, and contains a slew of musical surprises. Hailed as ’the new master of the slide guitar’ by the Montreux Jazz Festival and 'the real thang’ by the legendary Bootsy Collins, Broadbent has spent the past few years wowing audiences with his unique blend of virtuosic acoustic and slide guitar playing, as well as his poignant Folk and Blues inspired vocals. Born in rural Lincolnshire, his live shows exude warmth, humour and an energy that has electrified audiences worldwide.
"I'm Jack Broadbent" Jack politely introduced himself as he sat down on his stool - "We Know" replied a wag in the sold out crowd - no doubt comforting for Broadbent perhaps, that they had not all come to see the headlining Stones guitarist. Jack opened with a great cover of Canned Heat's 'On The Road Again', before I fought my way through the stalls to take a few photos from the pit, just in time to catch 'She Said' from the former busker's aptly named 2013 release, 'The Busking CD'. Jack had subsequently been joined by his Dad Micky on bass and vocals, for a few numbers, sitting to his right. "He's Alright Isn't He?" Broadbent Junior duly complimented his old man, which fittingly saw the Bush faithful yelling in agreement. Cue Micky's finger clicking opening plus Jack's groovy guitar intro on the aforementioned track, which duly resulted in spontaneous hand clapping from an appreciative audience.
In a delightful forty minute set, Broadbent played some outstanding slide guitar, mixing cover versions and original songs. As for the covers, Jack modestly introduced Van Morrison's 'Moondance' with "You're Not Here To See Me" plus jokingly, on Percy Mayfield's 'Hit The Road Jack', introduced it as a song he wrote for Ray Charles! Needless to say both classics received thunderous applause. Although chewing the cud in the interval, there was disappointment among some of the Broadbent faithful, given the exclusion of tracks from the new album, in particular 'Everytime I Drown' and 'Wishing Well'. Hey ho, on the plus side though, there was no doubt that Jack's set had successfully endeared himself to a predominantly Mad Lad crowd. Job done.
As for Mad Lad Ronnie, the Rolling Stones guitarist released 'Ronnie Wood With His Wild Five - Mad Lad: A Live Tribute To Chuck Berry', the week before tonight's gig through BMG. It was recorded at Wimborne’s Tivoli Theatre just over a year ago - a night that saw guest appearances from singer Imelda May and pianist Ben Waters. Tonight was the second of four UK gigs, Wood and his cast of thousands, including Waters and May again, plus Dion Egtved (bass), Dexter Hercules (drums), Antti Snellman (tenor sax), Tom Waters (alto sax) and a brace of backing singers, had already warmed up the night before, just up the road at Kingston's All Saints Church.
As expected his Wild Five set of 1 hour and 45 minutes was very similar to the night before, with Wood clearly on a mission to keep Chuck Berry's music alive, which his band duly achieved in front of an enthusiastic, international audience. With a dozen or so guests watching from the side of the stage, including his wife Sally, tracks played included 'Rock and Roll Music', 'Mad Lad', 'Memphis Tennessee' and the seasonal 'Run Rudolph Run'. No Rod (despite a couple of his backing band being present - who was spotted outside with wife Penny), nor Jagger, however, Waters superb boogie woogie piano, May plus special guest Lulu's great vocals and the 72 year-old's guitar and charisma, ensured that this indeed was a fitting classic Blues Rock 'n' Roll tribute to Charles Edward Anderson Berry.