Free Electric Band [Covers, 4 piece]
What a fabulous band to listen to! This is just my sort of music: a bit of rock, bit of country, bit of
blues with every member of the band on top form.
The lead guitarist/vocalist is nothing short of sensational. Not only does he look the part, he plays it too! I loved his stuff: a bit of Albert Lee and Arlen Roth telecasting, but clearly a lot of his own unique style too with some lovely slithery chromatic runs early on!
His touch was perfect from the bluesy "Baby Please Don't Go" to the country swing of "She's an Artist" to Badfinger's pop ballad "Day by Day". Hearing it was pure pleasure and I haven't enjoyed listening to a guitarist so much for years. Exquisite!
The rest of the band were wonderful too: the rock steady, driving beat from the drummer and the bass who played perfectly together (keeping it simple and therefore adding everything); top notch keyboard and a saxophonist whose playing was 'spot on' as well as being responsible for adding some growling good vocals.
Music this good is not always fully appreciated these days and can sometimes be written off as just more pub rock, but - my goodness - this was so much better than that!
I wish I could have stayed for the second set, and will be checking the gig lists so that I can come and hear you again in the near future.
GeoffTuesday 29 September 2015
This was the first time I had seen the Free Electric Band in their new line-up with John Clare as frontman and main lead vocalist.
John is a seasoned professional and handles with consummate ease both chat and music.
Former lead vocalist Phil Ketteridge has left the band and John now leads a team of top musicians who provide great sounds from the sixties and seventies.
John has more-than-able support from bass player John Gordon (ex-Alan Price Set), keyboards man Dave Lennox (currently in Alan Warner's Foundations), drummer Howard Tibble (Shakin' Stevens' skinsman for 35 years) and saxophonist and vocalist Brian Juniper who worked for nearly a decade as one of Screaming Lord Sutch's Savages.
The Free Electric Band gave an outstanding performance when they appeared in a huge marquee outside the Bull pub in London Colney.
They kicked off with the Big Mama Thornton arrangement of the rock 'n roll standard “Hound Dog” before a plaintive version of Buddy Holly's evergreen “Everyday”, with some lovely guitar playing by Mr Clare.
There was nothing predictable about the Free Electric Band's choice of material. Neil Young's catchy “Long May You Run”; Bob Dylan's folksy “Positively Fourth Street”; Tim Rose's rock classic “Morning Dew”; and the gospel number “This Hammer” popped up during the two sets.
Brian shares some of the vocal duties and demonstrated his gutsy, soulful vocals on numbers like Marvin Gaye's “I Heard it Through The Grapevine”, in which John delivered a terrific guitar solo.
More years ago than he cares to remember, John was a member of glam rock band Harley Quinn and the FEB presented a funkier version of their biggest hit, the rock 'n roll number “New Orleans”. (I love the way John starts playing a riff and the rest of the band coolly join in!)
Other highlights of the second half were a lovely rendition of Badfinger's “Day After Day”; a fine interpretation of the Merseys' singalong hit “Sorrow”; and a raucous version of the Rolling Stones' "Off The Hook".
The boys ended their marathon performance (over two and a quarter hours) with an up-tempo, toe-tapping version of Lonnie Donegan's skiffle anthem, “Rock Island Line”, which was originally a hit in 1956.
The Free Electric Band is a highly entertaining act and the audience at the Bull loved them. Don't miss this band if they come to a venue near you.
Colin Fenn, DJ, journalistWednesday 9 September 2015
I have to hand it to the Free Electric Band. They certainly keep their promises. Three years ago I told lead singer Phil Ketteridge they really should perform the Albert Hammond song after which they were named. Phil said it was a hard song to learn but he would persevere, and, true to his word, he learned the lyrics and the band performed "Free Electric Band" especially for me during their excellent show at Gertie Browns lively bar in Finchley Central.
The six-piece band were in fine form kicking off with a gutsy, bluesy version of Tommy Tucker's "Hi Heel Sneakers" followed by a terrific interpretation of Dobie Gray's uplifting "Drift Away" and a bluesy rendition of the rock 'n roll classic "Hound Dog".
Phil took lead vocals on those three songs but his colleague and founder member John Clare, ex Joe Brown's Bruvvers and Harley Quinne, took over for a subtle performance of Bob Dylan's "Positively Fourth Street" while the inclusion later in the set of The Cascades' 1962 hit "Rhythm Of The Rain" was an unusual but pleasant choice.
John and Phil shared vocals on a novel interpretation of Buddy Holly's timeless ballad "Everyday" and their voices blended beautifully.
These guys can really play. John, who has been in the business for over 40 years, is a highly accomplished lead guitarist. For this show he was joined by the Electrics' regular drummer Howard Tibble (who has worked with Shakin' Stevens for more than three decades); bass player Paul Lucas (who was a member of the Tridents when one of his co-members was a certain Jeff Beck; Hungarian keyboard maestro Janos Bajtala and talented sax man Brian Juniper, who came into his own on Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell".
The Free Electric Band started up the second half with two soul classics, Arthur Conley's "Sweet Soul Music" and Al Green's funky "Take Me To The River" both of which the band performed magnificently and while it has to be said that while the band's choice of songs is excellent and sometimes unexpected, not many pub acts attempt great songs like Badfinger's "Day After Day" or the Merseys' singalong number "Sorrow".
A funky, punchy version of Ike and Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits" was highly enjoyable and the band ended their second set with an upbeat performance of Lonnie Donegan's skiffle classic "Rock Island Line".
A great show from a great group.
Now, here's a new suggestion - how about starting the first or second set with the "Free Electric Band" song. It's a rousing number and it would certainly guarantee that audiences remembered your name!
Colin Fenn, DJ, journalistTuesday 23 September 2014
It's Saturday night and my band, Hit 'n' Run, have a night off! Normally, when this happens, I trawl through the Lemonrock local gigs section and try to find a band that I fancy watching. On this occasion I noticed that The Free Electric Band were appearing at The Lord Haig in Hertford, which is a great venue for music with friendly people.
The Band comprises of members that have extensively worked with headline acts over the years, and with their pedigree, surely this would be a good night! Most bands that I see tend to run through exactly the same set-list, so this was a breath of fresh air as they segued through songs by Bob Dylan, The Who, Neil Young etc. The big difference was that they played all of these songs 'their' way: rock with a country feel.
Every individual member is a great muso in their own right and would slot easily into any other band (and I'm sure they do.) It was especially good to watch John Clare, who plays the guitar much like Albert Lee. I can't remember seeing anyone as good as this guy in any pub, anywhere! The guys are also very approachable and we had a good chat at the bar during the interval.
If you get a chance to see this band take it, as you will not be disappointed. The best night out I've had in years, and I didn't even have to pay to get in!
Tony UpsonSunday 24 February 2013
It's not often you see a group playing in a pub who you feel are being under-utilised, but the Free Electric Band are good enough to be performing at bigger venues - and booking agents would be wise to snap them up now.
You would certainly be hard-pressed to find a more experienced group of musicians as these guys have been there and got the T-shirt.
Lead singer, Phil Ketteridge, and guitarist/vocalist, John Clare, were both long-time members of Joe Brown's Bruvvers and breakaway group Tramline; keyboard player, Dave Lennox, played with the Foundations; Mr bass man, John Gordon, worked with Alan Price for many years; while drummer, Howard Tibble, was Shakin' Stevens' sticks man virtually throughout his career, and appeared with Shaky on 'Strictly Come Dancing' on Christmas Day TV!
This experienced quintet kicked off the first of their two sets with the blues classic "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", made famous by both Nina Simone and the Animals.
John demonstrated his guitar prowess on Creedence Clearwater's "Hey Tonight" while other highspots in the first half included a terrific version of Dobie Gray's "Drift Away"; an upbeat interpretation of Dylan's "Positively 4th Street", with John on vocals; and a rousing rendition of the Who's "The Kids Are Alright".
The second half began with Al Green's funky "Take Me To The River"; and I loved the band's bluesy, cool version of the Who's classic "My Generation", which gave the song a totally different feel.
Phil's gutsy, gritty voice was perfect for "Hound Dog" and there was an enjoyable medley of "The Letter", "Love Potion No 9" and the Temptations' "Get Ready".
Other highlights in part two included Dave's keyboard solo on "Baby Please Don't Go"; plus a rousing performance of the Small Faces' "All Or Nothing".
The only thing missing was Albert Hammond's 1973 hit "The Free Electric Band". Phil is still learning the words of this complex song - and they need to master it quickly if they are to play the larger venues they so richly deserve.
Colin Fenn, DJ, journalistMonday 23 January 2012