IMAGES: PETER HEYNEMAN
WORDS: Eddy Bonte
‘When punk came along, I was too old. Now that I’m old …’, was Norman Beaker’s typically ambiguous way to announce he was about to let loose a pure punk version of his song ‘Take Me to Your Pleasure Dome’.
We are now nearing the end of the show and The Norman Beaker Trio has already delivered more than one fast and heavy blues tune. In fact, our Mancunian Blues Hall of Fame inductee is leading a real power trio. No keyboard player or saxophonist in sight this time around, whereas Croatian drummer Leo Balthazar quickly made clear why ‘Tornado’ is his nickname, with Flemish interim bass-player Ronald Burssens producing the groove it takes to form a powerful rhythm section [N.B.: regular bassist John Price joined again early July].
Of course, the main ingredient of any Norman Beaker show remains blues and R&B without boundaries or blinders: a fast self-written twelve-bar shuffle to set the pace (‘Option On You Baby’ ), a dose of funk (‘Shakey Ground’), a slow blues (‘Sitting On Top of the World’), a blistering tribute to his old mate Jack Bruce (‘White Room’), a touch of gospel with country-rock (‘Take It Or Leave It’) and quite some compositions of his own scanning the boundaries of the blues idiom, both musically and lyrically.
When everything is said and done, one attends a Norman Beaker show to listen, leaving that pint of beer untouched for a few minutes and holding one’s peace, to listen his well-balanced, touching, talking and subtle guitar-playing.