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Laurence Jones

Wednesday 27th March 2024

The Beaverwood, Chislehurst, Kent

As well as supporting Rock legends Status Quo for two nights in Glasgow at the end of May, Liverpool-born Blues-Rock guitarist Laurence Jones continued his current UK headline tour at Chislehurst's The Beaverwood on Wednesday night in support of his eighth album, 'Bad Luck & The Blues'. The Marshall Records release sees Jones refining his sound, returning as a power-trio that featured long-time bassist Jack Alexander Timmis (Virgil & The Accelerators) and drummer Ash Sheehan (Tony Iommi), with Laurence at his rawest, showcasing his virtuoso guitar talents while remaining faithful to his Blues roots.

Indeed, we cast our minds back nearly ten years ago to London's 100 Club when we first saw him as the tasty meat in a Stark/Grainne Duffy sandwich, describing the baby-faced bluesman not only as the complete package, but also that it was worth paying a tenner that night just to see Laurence's set alone, as we ended up at the merchandise stand buying his album 'Thunder In The Sky'. With tickets double that price tonight, this was more reflective of the multi-award winner's rise rather than inflation, given that he has since shared stages with Jeff Beck and Joe Bonamassa as well appearing at the Royal Albert Hall and New York's Carnegie Hall.

My excitement before the gig was heightened even more on the way to the venue, by hearing that FM's Jim Kirkpatrick was supporting Laurence. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm was somewhat curbed by learning on arrival that Kirkpatrick was unwell after returning recently from the USA. Get well Jim, no doubt you will recover in time for FM's London gig at Dingwalls on Saturday 25th May.

Entering the stage to the strains of a spaghetti western theme, the bearded duo of Jones and Alexander Timmis, were joined by the most recent member of his trio, the pony-tailed Alan Taylor on drums. A smiling, pink PRS guitar wielding Jones vocal on the title track of 2015's 'What's It Gonna Be', was sandwiched in between an instrumental intro and a closing jam that immediately got the crowd cheering. "Thank you and goodnight" Laurence joked as he enquired "How are you doing?", before twiddling the knobs on his Marshall amps, and this time launched into the title track of his latest album, with the sparkling lights seemingly accentuating his latest amazing solo.

Reminiscing, Jones recalled the first time he graced The Beaverwood. "No beard. No new venue!", he quipped. Now turning to the present, cue two new unsurprisingly Hendrix influenced tracks from 'BL&TB', 'You're Not Alone', that saw the black attired Jones bouncing up and down, followed by the slower, 'I'm Gone', with Laurence not only throwing in a bit of wah wah for good measure, but also ending it with his guitar firmly placed against his Marshall stack for gratuitous maximum feedback.

The nice and slow segment of his first cover of the night, Rosie Doonan's 'Lost And Broken', built delightfully amongst Jones's cries of "hey", as Laurence continued to tease the crowd. "Are you feeling the Blues?", was met with an unanimous "yeah", as Jack's thumping bass line on 'Don't You Leave Me This Way' (another from 'BL&TB'), momentarily slowed down, in order for Jones to conduct a singalong and affirm with the audience - "Feeling the Blues now?"

Complimenting those present for their great vibe, particularly on a school night (lol), another cover from 'WIGB', Lead Belly's 'Good Morning Blues' brought back memories of his aforementioned appearance at Lead Belly Fest eight years go, as did the title track of 2012's 'Thunder In The Sky', the first song (and best ever in my humble opinion) that Laurence wrote, that not only saw a great passionate vocal from Jones, but also a romantic couple slow dancing stage right.

Speeding things up, did I detect a Wolfmother snippet in B. B. King's 'Rock Me Baby'?, although, as well as some clapping and a few fist pumping "Oy! Oy! Oys!", there was definitely a pucker Punk vibe to 'In Too Deep' from 2022's 'Destination Unknown'. Jones then dedicated 'Voodoo Chile' "To my hero". Indeed, memories of 2014 came flooding back when I first saw him perform this at The 100 Club with Roger Innes (bass) and Miri Miettinen (drums). As then, this had it all, including a great sound mix, a 'Hey Joe' snippet plus the obligatory guitar playing with Jones's teeth.

Inspired by their forthcoming dates with Status Quo, and having received a lot of airplay on Planet Rock, their 'BL&TB' single, 'Lonely Road', was very apt for this neck of the woods, given Parfitt and Rossi played their first ever Quo gig just round the corner at Eltham's Wellcome Inn. And talking of hitting the road, Laurence duly offered us one final chance to sing and rock with them. "Chislehurst come on!" Closing with "BL&TB's 'Woman', the joint was rockin' and the punters were clapping, as Jones poignantly thanked the Beaverwood faithful for supporting live music. Adding, "We love you so much!", the band duly shared the love one last time, with a brilliant encore of BL&TB's 'Stuck In The Night', which truly brought an entertaining night's proceedings to a triumphant end.

As Laurence's good friend (and our intrepid photographer) John 'Mr. Rockrpix' Bull commented: "Laurence Jones... The gift that keeps on giving" ... indeed, we couldn't have put it any better ourselves JB!


Photos: John Bull

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