The Dave Thomas Big Blues Band delivers a masterclass in classic Chicago blues

If Dave Thomas ever took to running, I suspect he’d go for a marathon rather than a sprint. With a carefully curated set that lasted only a few minutes shy of three hours, Thomas took us on a blues journey that encompassed all the greats.

Never one to be hurried, he took to the stage with little ceremony, playing solo before being joined  by Hugh Gregory for an acoustic version of Magnolia – a duet that seemed to be all about their long friendship. The core band then joined them on stage – Rusty Lloyd on drums, Joe Bernard on bass, Gareth Tucker on harmonica – for a journey through the classic blues songbook. We were treated to music by BB King, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and countless others. While vocal duties were largely left to Thomas, most of the others got a turn, with Lloyd’s quirky Route 66 and Joe Bernard’s slimline Fats Domino impression among the highlights.

By the close of play there were countless musicians and singers on stage – with Phil Marshal’s sax a particularly worthwhile addition – and their enjoyment was infectious. Had someone not turned the lights up, I’m guessing they would still be playing now.

By David Vass