Leeds Blues Rhythm & Rock 2024 Festival a Great Success

The 2024 edition of the Leeds Blues Rhythm & Rock Festival took place at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, presented by Solid Entertainments and supported by Blues in Britain magazine.

The all-day line-up was headlined by Cardiff based Cardinal Black, with Portsmouth’s Brave Rival, Gerry Jablonski and his band from Aberdeen, Vincent Flatts Final Drive from the West Midlands, Adam Sweet Band from Exeter, Devon and opened by the Ryk Mead band from London/Kent.

The Brudenell Social Club is a not-for-profit venue that has been supporting the community and putting on music since 1913.

To view the images set please review Image Gallery

Images L-R - Cardinal Black, Brave Rival, Gerry Jablonski, Vincent Flatts Final Drive, Adam Sweet Band, Ryk Mead Band

First up was The Rick Mead Band who are a classic three-piece blues/rock band with a driving blues/rock style. Their line-up was Ryk Mead (vocals & guitar), Steve Cooper (bass & backing vocals) and Paul Annis (drums).

They kicked off with ‘Keep Me Idle’ the title track from their latest album, and followed with ‘Chicago’ about the classic north American blues city.

With ‘Hurricane Blues’ the lead and bass guitars were playing off each other along with a heavy solid drum beat. The set finished with great blues numbers ‘Everyday I have the Blues’ and ‘Last Man Standing’. They were applauded by the audience which was increasing in size during their set.

They were followed by Adam Sweet Band who had some Nashville influences in some of their numbers after working with a Nashville artist. They had been the winners on the Introducing stage at the Blues & Blues Festival, Skegness in February 2023.

Their line-up was Adam Sweet (vocals & guitar), Paddy Blight (bass), Thomas Hughes (keyboard) and Gary Kroll (drums).

Their set was a mixture of original material and classic covers and kicked off with some of his single releases with ‘Devil’ and ‘Something’ before the excellent ‘Evening’ with its slower tempo, which is on his new EP ‘Live at Crescent Record’ which came out in the week of the festival and Adam was excited to sell after his set. Also from the same EP was ‘The Green Manalishi’ and the Peter Green/Fleetwood Mac’ song ‘Oh Well’ which the crowds joined in with too!.

This was followed by ‘Here and Nowhere’ which was about a good friend who left town, which had a more mellow middle but with a heavier rock finish. The set finished with a more funky song with ‘Trouble’ and ‘Work On It’ which was a harder rock tune to finish.

Then we had a change with the characterful Vincent Flatts Final Drive up from the Black Country with their classic southern-infused blues boogie sound.

Their line-up was Steve ‘Bertie’ Burton (vocals), Russ Cook (bass and backing vocals), Gary Harper (guitar & backing vocals) and Rich Shelton (drums).

Their set included a lot of banter from Steve but some great songs interpreted in their own style, including ‘Statesboro’ and the Coco Montoya song ‘Back in the Cadillac’, ‘Graveyard’ with vocals from Steve, Russ and Gary and ‘Better Off With The Blues’ and ‘Speakeasy’

During the day the room had continued to fill up with knowledgeable blues fans and some newer to the genre. The lighting and sound had been excellent throughout.

Next on stage was Gerry Jablonski Band with their heaveier blues/rock sound, with the very experienced Gerry with his younger but excellent band mates. The line-up was Gerry Jablonski (guitar & vocals), Peter Narojczyk (harmonica), Lewis Fraser (drums & backing vocals) and Grigor Leslie (bass & backing vocals).

The band played some of their  more recent singles including ‘Cold’, ‘105’ and ‘Godamn’ and ‘Heavy Water’. The set also included ‘Koss’ a song about Paul Kossoff from the classic rock band Free.

This was followed by a slower temp song with ‘Anybody’ which was started with by drummer Lewis coming forward to take the vocals duties accompanied by Gerry on guitar before all the band joined in with a heavy beat with some great harmonica and lead guitar.

The set was finished with a new song ‘Life Down The Middle’ and ‘I’m a Fool for Love’. The audience would have liked an encore, with some wearing the bands t-shirts, but due to timings that wasn’t possible.

Now we were down to the last two acts with first up Brave Rival, the 5 piece band with three girls and two boys in their line-up. They were Lindsey Bonnick (vocals), Chloe Josephine (vocals), Ed Clarke (guitar), Billy Dedman (bass) and Donna Peters (drums).

The band were excited to be up for three nominations for the UK Blues Awards for Best Vocalist (Chloe Josephine), Best Instrumentalist (Ed Clarke) and Best Band. The closing date to vote was the day of the festival so Lindsey & Chloe encouraged the large audience, several with Brave Rival t-shirts on) to not forget to vote.

With their one-hour timeslot they included classic Brave Rival songs including ‘Hear Attack’ ‘Bad Choices’ and ‘Fairytale’ before finishing with ‘What’s Your Name’ and ‘Come Down’. Their style is energetic blues/rock with lots of interaction with the audience and great singing from Lindsey & Chloe, along with great guitar breaks and solos from Ed, supported by the rhythm section of Billy & Donna.

Then we had the headline act of Cardinal Black who were in the start of a tour of Europe, with this being one of the few dates in the UK.

Their line-up was Tom Hollister (vocals), Chris Buck (guitar), Adam Roberts (drums), Tay Cousins (backing vocals) and Sam Williams (bass).

The band who original formed in 2009 and had great early success with invite from Steve Winwood to record at his studios in the USA. Due to struggling to the new country the band broke-up. But 10 years later in 2020 after successful separate careers in music they got back together as Cardinal Black and released their first album ‘January Came Close’.

Their set included many songs from that album including ‘Terra Firma’ ‘Jump In’ ‘Rise Up’ and Tied Up In Blue’ and features Tom’s fine vocals, backed by Tay and supported by brilliant guitar work from Chris backed by the rhythm section of Sam on bass and Adam on Drums.

The lighting was innovative and the sound excellent and was widely received by the packed audience, many with Cardinal Black t-shirts.

Thanks go to Stephen Stanley from Solid Entertainment for putting on the festival and Christine & Tony Moore on the Blues in Britain stand helping bands sell their merchandise as well as selling the magazines.

Leeds Blues Rhythm & Rock 2024 Festival a Great Success
WiderView Visual Media, Chris Roberts 2 March 2024
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