A formidable trio of international talent arrives in the North East of England as the Ladies of the Blues tour makes an eagerly anticipated pit stop in County Durham.

The scene for tonight’s distinguished triple bill is the Gala Theatre; this being a location which has housed the annual Durham Blues Festival for many years. Of course, each of the show’s three featured artists have all performed at the aforementioned event in recent times.

Subsequently, the city’s blues-loving audience are out in force to witness the return of Finnish slide guitar goddess Erja Lyytinen, the award-winning British Blues great Connie Lush and vocal powerhouse Kyla Brox.

Throughout the course of the tour, each of the artists on the bill takes the opportunity to both open and close the show. Tonight it’s the turn of Liverpool’s Connie Lush to kick off the proceedings. Having toured with the likes of BB King and graced the stage of the Royal Albert Hall Connie is perfectly at home in this beautiful theatre.

This evening Lush truly showcases the talents which have earned her accolades that include “European Blues Vocalist of the Year”. Self-penned numbers such as the catchy “Shine A Light On Me”, slow blues number “Lonely Boy” and the up-tempo “Blame (It All On Me)” really stand out in the set. Connie also delivers a stunning rendition of Bobby Bland’s soulful “24 Hour Blues”.

Erja Lyytinen is widely regarded as the ‘Queen of the Slide Guitar’, and on the strength of tonight’s performance, there is no questioning why she has been so deservedly given that title. Last year Erja released her incredible latest studio album Stolen Hearts and tonight’s set largely centres on her latest offering.

Opening with the beautiful “City of Angels” Lyytinen gives a demonstration of guitar mastery in Durham. A breath-taking performance of her epic slow blues number “Slowly Burning” and the frantic-paced “Rocking Chair” highlight the wide variety of styles in Lyytinen’s vast repertoire.

Last week Erja Lyytinen released a new single/video “Without You” from her forthcoming currently untitled long player. Erja includes a heartfelt and passionate airing of the song and based on this track alone her new album is certainly going to be one to watch out for in the Fall.

Lyytinen also pays homage to the greats including Muddy Waters, Son House and Mississippi John Hurt during a superb delta blues medley. Tonight Erja Lyytinen proves that she can do it all and do it well; she continues to go from strength to strength whilst simultaneously building a strong following in the UK.

Tonight it’s the turn of Manchester’s Kyla Brox to close out the show. Kyla’s distinctive sound traverses soul and blues with a touch of gospel. Brox’s powerful voice mesmerizes the Durham faithful with a 45 minute set of largely original material including tracks from her current album Throw Away Your Blues. The cherry on top of tonight’s show is Kyla’s magical performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, which brings her set and the main part of the show to a close.

The beauty of the Ladies of the Blues show is that each artist brings something a bit different to the equation. As an added bonus this evening all three artists come together in unison as the show reaches its conclusion. This very talented blues trio perform an acapella version of the gospel number “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” before switching gear and rocking out with their own unique take on The Rolling Stones hit “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. The latter of which being a fitting finale to a brilliant night of blues and unlike the title of this Rolling Stones classic, the Durham audience leave the theatre well and truly satisfied.

Erja Lyytinen
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Connie Lush
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Kyla Brox
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Event Date: 25-Mar-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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