(Photos Credits: David Sansoni)
The Grant Pritchard Trio are for those who like the bluesier side of rock and provided the perfect antidote to those end of the weekend demons at The Grapes in Stafford.
Hailing from Shropshire, they consist of the titular Grant Pritchard on lead guitar and vocals, Callum Tyrrell on bass and Matt Pledger on drums. Heavily influenced by the likes of Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer, BB King and, in particular, Jimi Hendrix, Tyrrell and Pledger provide the solid engine room from which Pritchard can showcase his six-string virtuosity.
A sparse Sunday night crowd were treated to a mixture of twelve-bar standards, mainstream rock covers and a smattering of original material.
Opening salvo, the Robert Johnson penned ‘Crossroads’, is redolent of the quality of delta blues and ‘Tore Down’ reinforces the traditional feel of this combo. A boisterous ‘Hard to Handle’, owing more to The Black Crowes than Otis Redding picks up the pace before a down and dirty version of the Bill Wither’s soul ballad ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ leads us into ‘Caught Up In You’, an original composition that nestles comfortably amongst the covers.
A rocking ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ reminds the crowd what an underrated blues trio ZZ Top are and ‘Molly’s Chambers’ and ‘I Feel Good’ provide more familiar territory for mainstream listeners while a louche ‘Hey Joe’ brings an eclectic first set to a conclusion.
‘Hush’ opens a second set where ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ is an early highlight. The Hendrix quotient is upped with ‘Foxy Lady’ and ‘Voodoo Child’ - the latter’s finale showcasing Pritchard’s undoubted talent. The Free classic ‘All Right Now’ brings the air guitarists at the bar to life and is an original treatment with Pledger’s staccato drums and Tyrrell’s bass soloing coming to the fore.
‘Superstition’ seems an odd choice but is Pritchardised to within an inch of its life and the Chuck Berry anthem, ‘Johnny B Goode’ brings proceedings to a premature climax. Not surprisingly, the Clapton wannabes are baying for more and an encore of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and ‘Fire’ doused by ‘Purple Rain’ finally satiate the crowd.
The whole gamut of blues is covered by this talented trio and if a band can break a reviewer’s pen as he’s tapping along then they really must have something going for them.
**PHOTOGRAPHS MAY ONLY BE USED WITH PRIOR CONSENT FROM DAVID SANSONI / DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA**