Fabulous set from home town heroes

Idle Hands. Photo by Heather Noble
Idle Hands. Photo by Heather Noble

The best of British blues rock came home on Saturday night - in the heart of Chesterfield.

Local heroes The Idle Hands launched a series of blues-rock gigs at the Real Time Live venue and affected the 200 strong audience in a way that the town’s music-lovers rarely have the opportunity to feel.

As you’d hope from a venue above a music shop the sound and lighting equipment were perfect for the venue and well-managed all night

Openers The Marv White Blues band delivered a tight set of 12 songs executed with aplomb - and the band’s enjoyment was obvious.

Warmed up by Marv’s lot, the sizeable crowd was ready for a good time - and got it.

The Idle Hands’ soul and professionalism is astonishing. Their albums are excellent too but they do more than merely recreate that studio sound on stage.

The true quality of the band is in the arrangement and performances of the tracks, almost all of which are original.

Phil Allen’s vocals and stage presence captivate the eyes and ears on every song; Paul Heydon’s drums are skilful but unpretentious and cleverly underpin the melodies; Jamie Burns’ bass is unfaltering, sensitive and powerful as he struts confidently in a straw hat that shouldn’t suit anyone but just does, and; Dave Robinson’s guitar works!

It’s hard to pick out the best bits when you’ve enjoyed the whole show: the spot-on punchy funk of Everybody Talkin’; black-humoured, frantic quick-steppin’ blues of Keepin’ up with the Jones; the heart-breaking Goodbye, or the flawless, passionate slow-blues of 40 Nights - suffice to say that by the end of the second ‘encore’, a crowd-pleasing cover of Fleetwood Mac’s classic Oh Well, I wanted more.

The most recent album ‘Ready for business’ has received critical acclaim on the National scene and more widely and the band are enjoying the attention they deserve at long last.

This was the best gig I’ve seen in 20 years - it was really THAT good. Great venue, great bands, great night.

Review by Sunset Sinner