top of page

Voodoo Room

Thursday 20th July 2023

The Beaverwood, Chislehurst

Hot on the heels of Mollys Skinny and Hatchet, another return to The Beaverwood in a relatively short space of time on an unseasonably chilly July evening to change genre a bit and spend an evening in the company of the excellent Voodoo Room.

The band comprises Peter Orr (guitar/lead vocals), Jevon Beaumont (bass/vocals) and John Tonks (drums/vocals). All three of these guys are accomplished session players with a host of credits between them who seemingly do Voodoo Room for the love of the gig, faithfully re-producing the music of Rock’s first two power trios (and a bit of what one of them did next). That is to say, they play the music of Hendrix, Cream and Clapton. They also have an album of Orr-penned original material (the excellent ‘Tension City Blues’, previously reviewed by the WRC), but I’m yet to see any of this performed live.

I think I’ve said before that tribute bands aren’t really for me, but I view covers bands in a different light… whilst I don’t (personally) want to see people pretending to be my heroes, seeing accomplished musicians, live, enjoying playing music I want to hear… that’s different.

And boy; are these guys accomplished.

Proceedings kicked off with a quartet of Hendrix tracks – ‘Are you experienced’, ‘If 6 was 9’ and, after initial band introductions, a belting ‘Foxy Lady’ being augmented by Pete’s special feedback button :-). The initial 4 Jimi’s were concluded by an extended (and borderline heresy to say it perhaps, but I dare say even improved) rendition of ‘Little Wing’, which included a wonderful, in-keeping bass solo from Jevon.

A change of (Disraeli) gears next (Pete’s line, not mine) with a handful (so, more than a Spoonful… that one was mine) of Cream tracks - ‘Strange Brew’ (with first example of the night of Jevon and John’s excellent backing vocals), ‘I Feel Free’ (with it’s ‘Acapulco’ introduction - Pete again) with more excellent 3-voice vocals, my personal fave Cream track ‘Tales of Brave Ulysses’ and an extended ‘Spoonful’, which concluded with all three of these superb musicians free-forming all over the place not once but twice, after a stabilising return to the main refrain. Superb.

And to wrap up this initial dollop of Cream, the first half of the show ended with ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ which concluded with a double-time section enabling drummer Tonks to go delightfully off piste again.

After a brief interval, the second half of the show kicked off with four Clapton tracks – ‘Layla’, ‘After Midnight’ (with great backing vocals from John and Jevon), the JJ Cale-penned ‘Cocaine’, and the old standard ‘Further on up the Road’, which EC has been playing since at least 1975 (and has recorded versions of with at least Freddie King, Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa, The Band and Robbie Robertson… not bad longevity for a song first recorded in 1957 by Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland (as ‘Farther Up The Road’).

Another trio of Hendrix tracks – ‘Purple Haze’, my personal Jimi fave ‘Fire’, and a version of ‘3rd Stone From The Sun’ every bit as spacey as the original which we were reliably informed was written whilst Jimi was heavily under the influence… of Coronation Street. Apparently😊

Due to time constraints an audience vote selected ‘Badge’ as the next track (narrowly edging out ‘White Room’), whilst ‘Toad’ saw Pete and Jevon leave the stage to allow drummer John Tonks to deliver a nuanced and enthralling solo.

The whole set so far of course comprised nothing but iconic tracks, but even so they’d saved a couple of belters for the home straight: firstly, ‘Crossroads’… as with Cream versions of the old Robert Johnson standard, this concluded with another 3 way free-for-all and another solo from bassist Jevon.. but unlike the earlier solo in LW which was delightful in its restraint, nothing was left in the locker after this one… distortion pedal, some heavy chord sequences… superb.

And from here, straight into ‘Voodoo Chile’, featuring a Jimi-esque ‘behind head’ solo from the ridiculously skilled Orr… I was actually standing side of stage (almost behind him) so could see the business-side quite clearly, and he wasn’t just playing a fixed pattern… his fret hand actually moved up and down the neck quite a bit without missing or scuffing a single note of the solo… pretty impressive. A quick burst of Hendrix’s interpretation of ‘Star Spangled Banner’, before a final return to the main riff. and we were done.

After Tonks briefly outlined the dilemma of busting the universally feared Beaverwood curfew, we did indeed get one last track for the road… a (thankfully) brief Orr leg-pull that the Dylan track they were about to play was ‘Blowing in the Wind’, the more appropriate ‘All Along the Watchtower’, concluded a great set delivered skilfully (and, in with inter-track banter, wittily) by three consummate musicians.

The band’s website details dates all over the place all the way through this year and up to October 2024… I’d strongly recommend getting yourself along to (at least😊) one of these.

Mark C

A footnote….

The only downside of this well-attended gig (fortunately, an irritation rather than an evening-destroyer) was a chunk of the audience. It’s great that people pay for the ticket and get out to support live music… but if you’ve gone that far, why the f*** do you spend most of the evening loudly talking? It spoils everyone else’s night and is totally disrespectful to the band you have purportedly come to enjoy. Surely the demographic of this audience suggests people weren’t there for the Instahhh opportunity, so why turn up and then choose to ignore what you have paid to see? I wish I had the cojones to wear the Urban Voodoo Machine t-shirt (see photos below) and just stand in front of these people pointing to the very nice seating area just outside the main door where they could babble vacuously to their hearts content without disturbing anybody… maybe I’ll buy one for AJ.

bottom of page