37. Rawa Blues Festival
September 28th-30th 2017
Irek Dudek Big Band, Eden Brent
Main stage, Spodek Hall
Marcus King Band, Sonny Landreth, Tim Woodson & The Heirs of Harmon, Kris Barras, Band
Sobo Blues Band, Grzegorz Kapołka Trio, Pola Chobot & Adam Baran, Wes Gałczyński & Power Train, Two Timer, Rockomotive
Side stage, Spodek Hall
Blackberry Brothers, Hubert Szczęsny i Nie Strzelać do Pianisty, Adam Bartoś, Tandeta Blues Band, HoldBlues, Forsal
The festival began with an intimate meeting with Sonny Landreth. It was an hour-long solo concert, broadcast by national radio, during which the artist from Louisiana demonstrated his craft as an instrumentalist and a cross-section of his work, providing commentary on subsequent pieces.
The next day, the concert in the hall of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, began with set of the singer and pianist Eden Brent, who returned to Katowice after eight years. Her three-quarter hour recital was filled with songs in the boogie and ragtime convention. In the last song, she received strong support from the singing and rhythmically clapping audience.
The second part of the evening belonged to Irek Dudek and his 15-person big band. The program, consisting of blues standards and blues and rock'n'roll songs from Dudek's repertoire, was mostly filled with jazz. We also heard several songs popularized by Ray Charles, accompanied by a female choir.
The festival day in „Spodek” kicked off on the Small Stage, where a few Polish performers appeared: acoustic blues duo Hold Blues, playing blues-based music Forsal, Tandeta Blues Band, far from the blues: soloist Adam Bartoś and Hubert Szczęsny with the group Nie Strzelać Do Pianisty, rooted in southern rock Blackberry Brothers and hard rock Rockomotive – the winner of the competition.
This band opened the festival marathon on the Big Stage. Two Timer played afterwards, in an interesting contemporary blues version of their own. Wes Gałczyński & Power Trio provided an experience for lovers of electric blues and hard rock. The sound of acoustic duo Pola Chobot & Adam Baran was complemented by electric guitar and drums by Filip Laszuk. The guitarist and composer Grzegorz Kapołka and his trio played very impressive blues with interjections of rock, funky and jazz.
First foreign performers - Sobo Blues Band from Israel caught the contact with the audience easily, playing blues with rockabilly rhythm. The group's repertoire proved to be diverse. There was shuffle, there was the classic "Mean Old Frisco," there were dance offerings and singing with the audience. Englishman Kris Barras and his band started the show with a great impetus. The audience received this highly energetic concert with well-tailored songs in a blues-rock formula, dynamic singing fuelled by skillfully dosed guitar playing.
The excellent guitarist Sonny Landreth divided his performance into acoustic and electric parts. In the first, he performed his own songs. The second featured the standards "Walkin' Blues" and "It Hurts Me Too," among others. The technical mastery of this guitar virtuoso and a colourful palette of guitar sounds served to present a conglomerate of blues and zydeco skilfully integrated with other elements of Louisiana music.
The group Tim Woodson & The Heirs Of Harmony may have surprised gospel lovers in traditional form. Three vocalists in the front and an instrumental band in the background, gave a concert that could turn many heads. Dominated by intense music with strong rhythmic support, offensive singing and constant stage movement.
The final of the 37th edition of Rawa Blues belonged to Marcus King Band. The concert featured music exposing King's mature, rough voice and the frantic guitar driving of this very young but already very mature musician. The entire ensemble, despite its limited composition having the qualities of an orchestra, are excellent instrumentalists. Performing only their own repertoire, they made the nearly two-hour concert pass quickly.
The Rawa Blues Festival showed once again how beautifully the paths of contemporary music cross, where blues - while remaining the foundation - releases new layers of creativity and emotions.