By: Barry BluesBarn Hopwood


When offered the chance to see one of the best singer/songwriters in the UK who swaggers along side the Blues, you don’t take it, you jump on it and wrestle it to the ground. Plus it’s taking place in your most favourite bar in the country, you’re on a winner before it even starts.


Being a massive fan of Ian Siegal, I arrive early to be greeted by the Wonderful owner of the bar, Rob, who gets me a pint and tells me he’s reserved me a seat front row. Taking my seat ,I get a chance to talk to Ian who shows off his new guitar and tells me he feels exhausted as he’s on his 31st gig day in a row. Wow, the bonuses keep coming and as I sit stage side, they keep coming in the shape of the support act, husband and wife duo of Niall Kelly(on guitar/Harmonica/vocals) and his very talented lady, Caitlin(violin/vocals) who then treat me and a very packed house to an absolute pleasing forty plus minutes of songs, that transports me back to Ireland. It’s the fiddle of Caitlins that places me in a pub in Cashel or Clommel – they’re doing covers of classic songs with Niall showing us exactly why he runs the regular blues jam here at the bar. The boy can play, sing, tell stories with song, like a modern day Alan-a-Dale. On top of all that, he’s the most friendliest of souls. Simply wonderful stuff!

After a short interval, basically trying to fit Ian’s band on the small stage, we are off and in true vintage style, the band, Bas Lee(drummer) Lewis Fielding(guitar) Greg Millar(Harmonica) and last but by no means least the adorable Francesca shaw) start off the show without building up the suspension in true Chicago style, as he swaggers onto stage. You can sense this is going to be special!

Now, if you’re like me and your love of the blues grew from artists such as Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf then you won’t find a better compatriate than Ian in this country to do them justice – but that’s only my biased opinion. We are being treated to such classics as Champagne and Reefer, Long Distance Call, Back Door Man, 300 Pounds of Joy.

My goosebumps monitor is off the chart. This is a dream type of gig for me, with Ian growling and howling through the set, playing his new guitar, stomping his snakeskin boots and the band are as tight as the room on the tiny stage, with Greg blowing a storm, Lewis strumming like a machine gun, Fran and Bas dropping the backbeat in with bass and skins like an athletic heart. At one point, for a fleeting second I glance at the crowd, all I can see is smiles, smiles from people that are here, in the moment, watching the magic, listening to the magic, this is the magic, Chicago maybe across an ocean, butnot tonight, tonight it’s in the West End..