Boom Boom LIVE, Sutton, Sunday 1st February 2004
Well, it was a wild, wet, and windy Sunday night as I set out for the Boom Boom club in Sutton on 1 Feb to see Ben Waters and his band.
For those who have not seen Ben live, his piano playing is a revelation. More than ably supported by his band Chris Lonergan (bass), Ade Milward (drums), and Clive Ashley (sax), (Ben also performs a number of solo gigs) he delivered two hours of barnstorming boogie and New Orleans tinged piano. It's all there... memories of the greats of the past Ammons, Yancey, Johnson, Lux Lewis, but Ben delivers his message 21st century style with thunderous left hand patterns that fuse with Lonergan's bass and Milward's drums, and a right hand that just seems a blur pounding up and down the keyboard. His mischievous grin and storytelling between numbers - the story of Igor and his Balalaica that he tells while introducing Johny B Goode (sic) E German version is a classic - just added to the warmth he and the band generated on that winter's evening.
Drawing heavily from his current album 'Shakin' In The Makin', it was overdrive from the outset... none of this gradually moving through the gears nonsense. Josephine, Melting Pot Boogie, Sticky Finger Boogie, Sweet Georgia Brown, Someone Changed The Lock, Hey Pockey Way were all featured bringing broad smiles all round from both band and audience.
A friend asked me the following day: 'Was it good'? It was more than that, it was exhilarating. To witness a band clearly having fun and a young pianist who, to these ears, ranks with some of the greats was just a little special. Jools Holland regards Ben Waters as 'fantastic' and I, for one, would second that.