Review of their performance at The Torrington on Sunday 20th January 2002

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Rarely has a band grown up so quickly. Since booking New Blood as raw 15 year olds - a collection of two girls two boys, playing classy rock blues and originals - to a band with confidence, poise, and great songs, New Blood have done a lot of growing up.

There's a slight line-up change too with bass player Russ Cook now an integral part, while Jon Ballard on drums and Rachel Healey on keys provide the perfect backdrop for the explosive Gary J Harper on guitar / vocals and awesome song writing.

That said, New Blood are a band with rare feel, intuitive interplay the ability to stretch out, and always willing to throw in some individual virtuosity when required.

The material ranges from the Ska undertow of "Smile" to the memorable post rock ballads such as "Especially Mine" (a new live set show stopper) and of course the Peter Green influenced epic "She Knows ".

Live, the mix of youthful exuberance and raw talent takes your breath away. Imagine seeing hundreds of competent and occasionally special bands, then think of a band such as this fuelled on pure vitality, a total belief in their own songs and with the ability to breathe fresh life into standards like Free's "The Hunter" and the staple time change blues work out "Woke Up This Morning", and you have the key to a potentially brilliant band.

But reality bites and the loud enthusiastic, but modest Torrington crowd represent the acorns for a potentially musical burgeoning tree.

Soundcheck magazine heralded this band as the most exciting live act since the Hoax, but I would add more to that. New Blood write songs on a broader canvas, with a wider musical perspective, and I'm sure they could ultimately appeal to a mainstream audience.

Gigs like this rapturously received Torrington show are only the beginning for a potentially great band.

Pete Feenstra

Russ Cook Gary J Harper Rachel Healey Jon Ballard