Chantel McGregor with support from the Zoe Green Band, performing at The Robin 2 Bilston on Thursday 7th June 2018.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Last night at the Robin 2 in Bilston it was all about the ladies as blues star Chantel McGregor was superbly supported by the Zoe Green Band (ZGB), who warmed up the crowd nicely and could have delivered a much longer set.

On stage Zoe opened with a foot stomping cover of Al Green’s Take Me To The River which saw them really wake everyone up. With a decent following this swampy slide guitar based blues band followed up with Catch A Fall and Come Together that announced that they had well and truly arrived.

Having previously released a covers album called Filthy Sessions, ZGB are to release an album of their own material later this year. And after a band reshuffle which now boasts the much acclaimed blues prodigy Ali Clinton on guitar, legendary bassist Dave Clarke and drummer Toby Wilson, ZGB are now a band to be reckoned with.

With Zoe’s gritty powerhouse vocals and massive stage presence, The Beatles’ Come Together and Etta James’ I’d Rather Go Blind were real highlights. But it was Stevie Wonder’s Superstition that saw Ali’s insane guitar skills, backed by solid drums and incredible funk that had this audience dancing.

Chantel McGregor may only be in her early thirties but she is firmly established as one of the UK’s premier rock and blues guitarist. She’s been voted Best Young Artist and Best Female Vocalist at the British Blues Awards and in both 2013 and 2014 she was Guitarist Of The Year.

So she may be demure in stature but there is nothing small about this artist. She’s jammed with the great Joe Bonamassa, worked with Marillion, has produced two fine blues albums and this Bradford born guitarist is possibly one of the most versatile artists currently on the circuit, as she delivered an eclectic set that was a delight for blues purists, rock fans and lovers of fine music of any genre.

She drifted onto the stage accompanied by bassist Richard Ritchie and drummer Keith McPartling who provided her with impeccable support on set opener, Take The Power. Killing Time and Like No Other set the scene with their beautifully constructed blues rock energy, whilst Caught Out saw the three piece band crank up the volume.

Losing herself in the music McGregor also has a powerfully strident voice, shown exceptionally well as she took to the stage on her own to deliver a heart wrenchingly beautiful and emotionally charged acoustic version of Anaesthetise which showcased her song writing abilities and stunning vocal range.

Finishing her set with April and the upbeat Burn Your Anger, it was easy to see why this relatively young artist has been able to leave her mark in the world of blues music and on the evidence of last night’s performance she’s not going anywhere soon.