When earlier this year the second edition of the Holland International Blues Festival was held in Grolloo, I was in Barcelona, which unfortunately (as a blues lover) means I’ve missed both editions. Apparently a young English blues musician was making quit the impression and was even performing alongside one of the main headliners: Buddy Guy. Last Friday this rising blues star by the name of Laurence Jones was playing to a sold out Vanslag in Borger and I was not going to miss that!
The quite fantastic Dutch bluesband Easterfield got to open the evening. I’ve seen the band a few years before at a bluesfestival in Hoogeveen and loved them there. It’s been a while since then, but it’s good to see them on stage again. Now they played a short set with a few own songs and a great selection of covers.
It was really great to hear The Hoax’s Groovebreaker come by and ending with Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well is just fantastic! Great way to start the evening.
It didn’t take long to reset the stage for Laurence Jones and his band. And they delivered! Quite simply a demonstration of fantastic showmanship. Laurence is incredibly good on guitar. The whole band (including bass, drums and keyboards) performs admirably well. Not only quality but also sheer joy and fun oozes of the stage. The setlist is long but the blast through it and as far as I know it’s mainly original work with the only exception to ‘All along the watchtower‘, a Jimi Hendrix cover, but played in his own style.
And all of a sudden the concert is done and Laurence and band leave the stage. Well… not all of the band. All was silent when suddenly keyboard player Bennett Holland started playing a really serene song. For a moment I thought they had started the background music until I realised that it was Bennett. A well deserved bit in the spotlights.
Laurence and band returned to the stage to play an encore and leave the audience on a fantastic high. It was an incredible gig and seeing it in a location like Vanslag makes it all the better. Great lights, super sound and the atmosphere couldn’t be better.