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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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Monsters Of Rock In Full Flight is strictly limited to 300 worldwide and is available from 30th November but those ordering before 31st October will have their name published within a dedicated page in the book.

It's a deluxe 128 page hardback book in a metal flight case with a narrative by Jerry Bloom.

When promoter Paul Loasby put on the first Monsters Of Rock Festival in 1980 he could probably never have imagined it would become an annual event that would endure for so many years.

Featuring bands from the UK, Germany, Canada and USA, Loasby chose to stage the event at the Donington race circuit in the middle of England and it would prove to be a defining moment for many of the bands on the bill.

Not least for headliners Rainbow as it was the their last ever show to feature drum legend Cozy Powell. As it would happen it turned out to be the last for vocalist Graham Bonnet as well. For many of the other bands on the bill such as Scorpions, Judas Priest and Saxon, they were all on the ascendancy and would soon go on to even greater success.

Now in celebration of this first ever Monsters Of Rock Festival comes this hardback book full of glorious photos of the bands that took to the stage for that inaugural event including back stage shots. Most of these shots have not been published before which add to the uniqueness of this deluxe 128-page book which is packaged in its own flight case.

Also included are stories surrounding the event with tales and recollections from those who were there, including artists and fans alike. Each book will be signed by the author. The 300 will sell fast and definitely go on to become collector's items so order yours now right here to avoid disappointment.


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