HOWIE Smallman, the lead singer of Perth band The Big Town Players, describes himself as a “country boy” who always dreamed of playing in the “big town”.
Now, after a one-off gig five years ago, that’s the life he’s living.
Anyone fortunate enough to have rocked up to Six Degrees in Albany on Saturday night expecting a Rhythm and Blues band at the top of their game certainly got what they came for – plus a whole lot more.
The band treated the audience at The Albany Blues Club to a powerhouse performance of traditional old school electric blues with a side of modern rock and jazz.
This was no 12-bar blues band held back by any genre limitations.
The sheer energy of the driving rhythms made it impossible to stay in your seat for long.
Smallman said he’s been playing blues music since 1974 and the band’s repertoire is mainly original tunes.
“It’s always been blues music for me until I met Phil Bradley, who is our guitar player, he comes from a much harder rock background,” he said.
“A friend of mine told me: ‘you do it until you can’t’, and I agree, it keeps me young.”
There was a wide range of age groups enjoying the blues and rock blend ranging from early 20s to 90s. A member of the crowd muttered that the young generation “must keep this music alive”.
Guitarist Phil Bradley proved the era of guitar heroes is well and truly alive.
His immense talent shone through brightly for the whole night with skilful solos and rhythmic techniques.
Smallman entertained the audience with a bit of humour, explaining the song’s stories while also providing a masterclass on blues harmonica.
The band’s heartbeat consisted of Rob Greaves on Bass and Phil Riseborough on Drums.
Some of Riseborough’s TomTom rich drum introductions would not have been out of place on a Green Day record.
Mr Smallman said he wrote the song Big Town Players on their last album to justify the band name and explain their roots.
“We’re the Big Town Players and Albany is a big town now, so we’re ok to play here,” he said.
“This is actually our favourite blues club in WA.”
The Big Town Players were supported by local band Triple Shot, an extremely talented local blues trio who warmed up the evening with popular blues classics including Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Mary Had a Little Lamb.