Worcester Festival review: Elkie Brooks

Droitwich Advertiser: FAB: Elkie Brooks FAB: Elkie Brooks

BRITISH teenagers may not have always discovered the meaning of life back in those long-lost 1960s but they certainly found the nearest thing in blues music.

This strange, alien and haunting sound came bursting over the airwaves with an irrepressible energy…it was the language of America’s displaced and dispossessed, pumping out of record players in a thousand suburban streets.

Small wonder that youngsters across Britain rapidly became hooked, entranced like children following the Pied Piper.

Elkie Brooks comes from the industrial north of England, which is undoubtedly why she seamlessly makes the transition from Manchester to US northern blues capital Chicago.

So when she sings songs such as Anyway You Want Me to Be by Jimmy Reed – with his references to bright lights, big city – there is an undeniable truth and authenticity.

Diva is a much-abused word, but it most certainly applies to this 67-year-old veteran of that uniquely British hybrid, rhythm and blues orientated rock.

For she not only has the bearing of an empress, like Bessie Smith, but also displays a fragile vulnerability that instantly brings Billie Holiday to mind.

Ms Brooks has kick-started Worcester Festival before and there could have been no better choice. This concert simmered, then cooked right from the word go, ably powered along by a backing band so tight you couldn’t get a cigarette paper between the players.

Some selections from new album Powerless certainly met with the approval of the diehards. And there’s no doubt that many of the audience were perched on the edge of their seats, longing for classics such as Lilac Wine, Pearl’s A Singer and Fool If You Think It’s Over.

However, she does appear more at home these days dipping into the good old, tried-and-tested stage repertoire set list, studded with gems such as the proto soul standard Do Right Woman.

This was a fabulous concert by a much-loved and respected artist. Yes indeed, as Billy Joel once so memorably observed… what a night.

 

 

What’s on at the Worcester Festival

Today

From a Monastic Herbal – exhibition by the Birmingham Society of Botanical Artists
Free. Cathedral. 9am-5pm.

Street theatre competition
Free. Around city. Various times.

Dance Summer School (juniors)
£35 for the week. Swan Theatre Studio. 10am- noon.

Cloud Nylon
Free. Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum. 10.30am-4pm.

Coffee Concerts with students from the Elgar School of Music
Free. St George’s Church. 10.30am-11.30am.

Flower and vestment display
Free. Old St Martin’s Church, Cornmarket. 10.30am-3.30pm.

Maud and the Dragon
Free. Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum. 10.30am-4pm.

Legend!
Free. Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum. 10.30am-4pm.

Percy the Festival Peacock
Around city every day. Free. Various times.

Battle of Worcester city walks
Free. Outside Guildhall. Noon to 1pm.

Dance classes for adults – Zumba!
£4.50 (3 for £12). Swan Theatre Studio. 12.30pm or 6pm.

Dance classes for adults –- Chance to Dance!
£4.50 (3 for £12). Swan Theatre Studio. 12.30pm or 6pm.

Organ recital given by David Brookshaw.
£5 (concessions £4). Old St Martin’s Church, Cornmarket. 1pm-2pm.

Dance Summer School (intermediate)
£55 for the week. Swan Theatre Studio. 2pm-5.30pm.

Body and Soul
Free entrance – activities £3. University Of Worcester. Various times.

Worcester Festival race meeting
£7- £16, accompanied children free. Pitchcroft. 5pm.

The Second Best Bed
£9.95. The Commandery. 7pm.

STAC presents Ladies Down Under
£8.50 (Concessions £7.50). Swan Theatre Studio. 7.30pm.

Latin Salsa workshop, party and evening of entertainment
£6 (Concessions £5). The Slug and Lettuce Workshop. 7.30pm.

Tomorrow

From a Monastic Herbal
As above.

Event Street Theatre Competition
As above.

Dance Summer School (juniors)
As above.

Cloud Nylon
As above.

Wonderland in Miniature
£4.50. Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum. 10.30am -12.30pm.

Flower and vestment display
As above.

Coffee concerts with students from the Elgar School of Music
As above.

Maud and the Dragon
As above.

Legend!
As above.

Percy The Festival Peacock
As above.

Battle of Worcester walks
As above.

Dance classes for adults – Chance to Dance
As above.

Classes for adults – tap
£4.50 (3 for £12). Swan Theatre Studio. 12.30pm or 6pm.

Body and Soul
As above.

Dance Summer School (intermediate)
As above.

The Second Best Bed
As above.

STAC presents Ladies Down Under
As above.

Horizon Lights at Tudor House
£7.50 (Concessions £6.50). The Tudor House Museum. 7.30pm.

Jackson – Live in concert
£18.50. Swan Theatre. 8pm.

Faithful City Morris Men
Free. Camp House Inn, Grimley. 8.30pm.

Comments (1)

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7:16pm Tue 21 Aug 12

orla nutting says...

Can't argue with that assessment. She was stupendous. Have been going to her gigs for the last 35 yrs and I reckon this was the best one ..... yet.
Can't argue with that assessment. She was stupendous. Have been going to her gigs for the last 35 yrs and I reckon this was the best one ..... yet. orla nutting
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