Gig review: John Mayall - Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

IN HIS time, elder Brit blues statesman John Mayall has functioned as a gatekeeper for the stream of influential musicians, including Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Mick Taylor and key members of Fleetwood Mac, who passed through the ranks of his Bluesbreakers and went on to play a part in the popular culture of their day.

Mayall, meanwhile, hung around in the past and can still be found there, playing heritage blues rock numbers by the likes of Albert King and Otis Rush.

It was clear from this performance that he still lives and breathes the blues, but he comes across more as an avuncular tour guide to the genre than a visceral exponent.

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On the plus side, he opened with a sprightly solo harmonica rendering of Sonny Boy Williamson’s Another Man Done Gone and, with his band, delivered some classic rhythm’n’blues grooves on Williamson’s Help Me and his own toe-tapping Room To Move.

On the downside, there was slap bass and bad scatting. I’ll Give You One More Day, his no-alcohol blues, was a perfunctory workout, the kind of blues which favours virtuosity over emotion.

Much of his original material, such as the rheumy-eyed requiem of Dream About The Blues and nostalgic tribute Blues For The Last Days, had more to say about the history than the condition of the blues.

At least support act Oli Brown, touted as the next generation of blues guitarist but as trad as they come, had the imagination to cover a hip-hop track, Blackstreet’s No Diggity, itself based on the Bill Withers number Grandma’s Hands. What goes around eventually comes around in music, so there should be no need to settle for obsolescence.

Rating: **