GIG REVIEW: MANGO CROW

5th APRIL 2008

 

Mango Crow travelled all the way from Cwmbran to provide us with a wonderful evening of Blues and Blues/Rock adding their own style and interpretation notably to works by BB King, Muddy Waters and Cream. The room was fairly full by the time they started but people kept on coming in and very soon it was standing room only at the back!

 

The band kicked things off with “The Thrill Is Gone” which was so far removed from the BB King original it was barely recognisable as such, and that set the trend for the night. Paul Morgan (Or “Podge” as he is usually addressed) adds to and amends the original work to give a point of difference to their performance. They followed this up with “Cant Complain” and “That’s Why I Love You So” before an excellently reworked “Hoochie Coochie Man” really impressed with its originality.

 

Things calmed things down with John Hiatt’s “Feels Like Rain” and then Clive Tomlinson showed us his wares with the Hendrix classic “Red House”. The next track was “New Day Yesterday” by Jethro Tull, the only 12-bar track they ever did apparently! Then we had a real surprise as Paul Morgan produced a flute to compliment his vocals and harp playing, a “first” at the BBC as, to my knowledge, nobody has played a flute here before!

 

Clive Tomlinson then went on to successively emulate Walter Trout, Peter Green and Joe Bonamassa all to good effect before the band stepped down for a mid-session interval.

 

The second half started with a succession of Clapton tracks, actually they were the Cream and Blind Faith tracks “White Room”, “Cant Find My Way Home” and “Crossroads”, followed by an awesome version of “Badge”. They continued with some works by John Mayall,  “Awestruck And Spellbound”, “Romance Classified” and then “Chaos In The Neighbourhood”. Interspersed with the Clapton and Mayall were “Sloe Gin” by Joe Bonamassa and “Don’t Take Advantage Of Me” by Johnny Winter.

 

Another Jethro Tull track provided an excuse to give the flute some more air, Dion’s “King Of The New York Streets”, The Beatles “Come Together” and Family’s “Burlesque” filled the gaps between a couple of Rory Gallagher tracks, and Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” completed the score. There had to be two encores as this band proved their popularity once again here at the BBC.

 

Throughout the night the rhythm section of Wayne Jenkins on bass and Russell Harry on drums complimented the front-men superbly, with Russell wielding his sticks with great enthusiasm and laying down a steady cooking beat all night long. Clive Tomlinson started slightly nervously but grew in confidence throughout the night and was very impressive indeed by the end, especially so, I thought, on “White Room” and “Chaos in the Neighbourhood”. The understated Paul Morgan did a top job on vocals, sounding great on a brand new Yamaha PA system once he managed to get the levels adjusted properly! He also juggled the flute and the harmonica to great effect, and gave great direction, albeit with a little hesitation at times.

Star of the show for me though was without doubt Clive on lead guitar; Yes, maybe we have seen technically better guitarists, but his enthusiasm for his trade really shone through into his playing, so much so that at the end of the night he left the entire room wanting more. It was a real pleasure to see a musician pushing his boundaries a bit, in doing so there will inevitably be some mistakes, but the overall experience is much improved as a result.

 

On a slight downbeat there was a lot of chatter in between numbers that must have been quite off-putting for the band and certainly spoiled the enjoyment of the night for some of the members, this was not helped by the fact that some of the language being used was not what you would expect to hear when there are ladies in the room, there was some improvement after it was mentioned by MC Adrian Bold, and hopefully we will experience better manners at the next gig!