Davina and the Vagabonds
16 December 2015 Live Reviews
Review Date: May 17, 2012
Review By: Alan Harrison
Location: The Cluny, Newcastle
One of my greatest pleasures is discovering new music in all its shapes and forms, and tonight was a revelation that I shared with 75 people scattered around a small room. The band in their black three button suits, white shirts and skinny black ties made their way onto the stage, followed by a magnificent looking Davina in a sexy green dress and her neatly coiffured hair in a beret. I was completely won over within the first minute of Louis Jordan’s Knock Me A Kiss, because these kids can play!
The brass section was immaculate and swung like a pendulum all night, and the drum and bass wouldn’t have been out of place in the Stax studio. Then, there is Ms. Sowers who can boogie-woogie on the piano as good as anyone I’ve ever heard. An early slow blues song Muddy Water perfectly showcased Davina’s sultry voice. Yet, this act isn’t just about the extroverted female lead, as trumpet player, Dan Eikmeier and bassist, Michael Carvale both got the chance to show what great voices they had too. Hardly any of the songs lasted over two minutes, but each one was perfectly assembled with New Orleans stompers, following rollicking rockers and slow and sassy blues tunes. On St. Michael Vs The Devil, we were treated to a fantastic gothic tune worthy of Tom Waits at his best, and it even included a duel between Davina and Eikmeier’s trumpet to see who could hit the highest note-she won!
Of the band’s own songs, Lipstick And Chrome won best song of the night on a split decision, but the actual knock-out song was reserved for their stunningly soulful version of Etta James’ classic I’d Rather Go Blind, which received a deserved standing ovation in the middle of the set. That’s about it; a handful of people saw one of the best gigs of the year and when or if they come back next year, I swear they will fill a hall twice the size of the Cluny II, so if they come to a town near you, go see them. They are the most fun you can have with your clothes on.