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  DEBORAH BONHAM SWEEPS AWAY THE BLUES IN STYLE
Deborah Bonham, The 100 Club, London

20th January 2017

liz medhurst
Words: Liz Medhurst, Pictures: Eric Duvet

deborah bonham



It's been London Blues Week at the 100 Club and Deborah Bonham tonight was the epitome of classy British blues - soul-infused, full of emotion, a tight professional band who know exactly what they are doing and a very fine repertoire of songs performed in an iconic club setting.

Commanding our attention from the start, Deborah really got into her stride by the rootsy 'Feel So Alive' and there was no holding back from here. 'Painbirds' was shimmering in passion, Peter Bullick's smoking guitar solo nearly raising the roof. These and other songs from recent album 'Spirit' shone and mixed well with more vintage numbers.

deborah bonham

As with Deborah and Peter, making a list of who the band has played with would fill several Halls Of Fame. Comprising drummer Richard Newman, bass player Jo Birt - who also delivered an accomplished Americana-tinged support slot - Gerard Louis, whose presence loomed large via his keyboard skills, and John Dominic on harmonica all brought their combined experience together in a terrific show. Another treat was special guest Doug Boyle who featured on the acclaimed 'Old Hyde' album, appearing on guitar for a few songs.

But it is Deborah who is undoubtedly the star of the show here with her wonderful voice and personality. She does best on the big numbers, strong enough to carry the huge 80s style ballad 'Heaven' and the epic showstopper 'No Angel' which was drenched in emotion.

deborah bonham

Not everybody in the club was a fan before the show however - when she was waiting by the stage in front of the side tables during the introduction a lady tapped her on the shoulder and asked her to move as she wanted to be "able to see when the main turn came on". It's to Deborah's credit, illustrating her generous spirit that she found this hilarious and delighted in passing on the info that she was the main turn. After this set there will be a lot more people who will know her, for all the right reasons.

deborah bonham

Ending the main set with a stomping 'Devil's In New Orleans' brought a perfect Friday night feeling, then for the encore there was yet another treat. Deb called up the wonderful Jody Turner of Rock Goddess to the stage, to belt out a blistering version of 'Rock and Roll', unrehearsed, note-perfect and completely fabulous.

deborah bonham

It may have been blues, but the universal mood was one of happiness tonight after this stylish and skilled display.

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