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Copyright Nick Morgan and crew

Concert Review by Nick Morgan
IAN SIEGAL AND HIS BAND The 100 Club, London, November 22nd 2007
Sneeze Hey Serge, I’ve just been away for a few weeks on a course in California. I can’t tell you exactly where for reasons of commercial confidentiality, but I can tell you we were studying something called ‘viral marketing’. We also looked at some ‘diffusion models’, but that’s probably a bit too complicated for you at the moment.
Anyway – let me explain how this viral thing works. Think of it like catching a cold. Now suppose I catch a cold from that irritating person who’s always coughing in the lift at work. I then go home on the train and unexpectedly sneeze, spreading my cold germs to about a dozen other people, who each in turn catch the cold, and then give it to another dozen people. That’s a lot of colds. Now at the moment I can’t quite see where that fits into my job, unless we anticipate that all these sneezing people will go and make themselves hot toddies with a generous slosh of you-know-what.

But maybe we’ll find out on the second half of the course which I think will be here.

Ian Siegal
Anyway, strangely this all put me in mind of the hugely impressive Ian Siegal whom, you may remember, we went to see earlier in the year. Now it’s unusual to see and review the same artist on Whiskyfun in the same year, but these were exceptional circumstances. We were so disappointed with our trip to see Walter Trout recently (not being Stratocaster-hugging troglodytes like the majority of the audience), and felt that we had let down our guests that evening so badly, that we had to make it up to them. And as Siegal and his band were playing at the 100 Club as part of the London Jazz Festival it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.
He has also just released a new album, Swagger (a most appropriate title given his stage bearing), which, according to my old man’s music magazine “leaves the listener in little doubt that Siegal is the cleverest writer and most magnetic performer of blues working in the UK”. It’s a nice mixture of covers and original compositions, and is produced by Matt Schofield, himself an outstanding guitarist.
Ian Siegal
The 100 Club is busy – and so many girls of all ages, an admiring posse of whom hog the front of the stage during the second set. Mr Siegal has obliged with an all-leather outfit, and duly dispenses with the shirt to reveal his notable blues tattoos. With him are his band, and guesting on Hammond organ Johnny Henderson, and harmonicas Giles King. Siegal swaggers and sweats his way through the evening – in the course of which he laments the difficulty of getting gigs in the UK (you’re probably more likely to see him in Continental Europe next year than here) but does announce that he’ll be playing at the Troubadour early next year.
Guitars Like everyone else in the 100 Club our guests are delighted by Siegal’s electric performance – what did I say last time? “Mature song writing skills, a great and versatile voice, a seriously studied blues vocal style, a fierce and frenetic guitar technique, an engaging and authoritative stage presence” – yep, we get all of that tonight and perhaps a little more. Oh yes – and in addition to his battered Telecaster and Harmony Stratotone H44 he’s also got on stage with him a hollowbody Harmony Meteor H70 (pictured here helpfully from the rear) which has got a fantastic raw sound.

Back to that viral marketing stuff. Well my mate Ian was so excited by the evening that he went home and downloaded Siegal’s albums, and then the next morning booked a dozen tickets for the Troubadour gig, and he’s going to take along a bunch of friends who’ve never seen or heard of Siegal. Now Serge, is that how it’s supposed to work?
- Nick Morgan (concert photographs by Kate)

<- Top, the Harmony Stratotone H44
the Harmony Meteor H70

Kate's Ian Siegal photo album

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