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L.A. Beat

Michael Charles brings a taste of Chicago down under blues

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Michael Charles brought a taste of Down Under meets the American Mid-West blues to the Slice, Jan. 23.Michael Charles playing the blues. Photo by Richard Amery
 The Australian born bluesman, who moved to Chicago back in 1990 at the request of Buddy Guy’s management who wanted him to play at Buddy Guy‘s Legends club, brought his smoking hot blues band to play an endurance test to the Lethbridge audience.

 And after hearing him I could immediately hear what caught their ear.
 He played hot and beautiful blues  / rock music for about three or four hours straight without a break and barely pausing for a breath. Unfortunately only about 10 people were there to experience the show and he outlasted all of them and looked about ready to play until dawn.

If there was an award for endurance blues playing Michael Charles would definitely be a contender.

“We really do appreciate you all coming out,” he told the audience in one of the few times he spoke during his set.

Charles played plenty of superb, soulful guitar playing sounding like a mix of Rory Gallagher and Robert Cray,  coaxing sweet, biting leads out of several weathered Stratocasters. He who also had a very capable rhythm guitarist with Jeff Schonfield playing the occasional short and sweet lead licks on a Gibson SG.

 The tight rhythm section included drummerDavid Hart hidden behind a wall of drums, cymbals and chimes plus bassist Steve Hart playing a six string bass and knew how to use each string.

 The band switched up between slow, soulful blues, more up tempo numbers, blues classics, blues rock covers, originals and  even a couple acoustic numbers including a strong acoustic version of “Nobody Knows You when You’re Down And Out.”
 Some of the highlights were the slower “Running Wild,” and their sizzling cover of Jeff Beck’s “Going Down.”

He also played a nice version of “After Midnight” as well as his brand new version of blues classic “Crosscut Saw.”
 One of my favourites was a long jam on the three chord blues rocker “Angel Eyes.” featuring one of many tasteful solos reminiscent of Eric Clapton.
“I’m Nobody’s Fool” was another highlight.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Thursday, 21 February 2013 15:28 )  
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