US-based blues troubadour Pokey LaFarge makes a welcome return to Tyneside performing his first show in the region in three years.
Of course, Pokey LaFarge’s stomping ground of St Louis has somewhat of a rich musical history being the birthplace of rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry and the once hometown of Jazz great Miles Davis. The city itself has a vibrant music scene and has cultivated a wide array of homegrown talent over the years. One of the artists to break out of the domestic market and onto the international stage is Pokey LaFarge.
Having been coming to the UK for nine years now Pokey LaFarge has built up a strong following on this side of the pond. Tonight he brings his captivating vintage sound to the North East of England performing in front of a packed out crowd at the Riverside in Newcastle.
Last year LaFarge released his incredible new album Manic Revelations, and as such he chooses to open the show with a track from the record “Better Man Than Me”. This being one of a small smattering of songs from his latest offering featured in the show along with the likes of the foot-stomping “Actin’ A Fool”, swinging blues number “Something In The Water” along with feel-good rock and roll number “Good Luck Charm”. In places, Pokey LaFarge’s distinctive sound conjures up images of the late great Django Reinhardt.
Pokey is joined on stage this evening by guitarist Adam Hoskins, double bass player Joey Glynn and drummer Matthew Meyer. For those familiar with the group LaFarge explains the reason behind multi-instrumentalist Ryan Koenig’s absence. Having been involved in a terrible automobile accident last year Koenig is currently recovering back in the USA. The band are collectively raising funds to aid with the hefty medical bills incurred for Ryan’s treatment back home whilst they are on the road.
Of course, there is plenty of room for old favourites including the up-tempo “Drinkin’ Whiskey Tonight”, the incredibly infectious Middle America themed “Central Time” before bringing down the tempo with one of Pokey’s favourite numbers “Let’s Get Lost” from his 2013 eponymous album. The quartet race towards the finish line with a frantic rendition of “Hard Times Come and Go” which features some blistering fretwork from Hoskins that even has LaFarge down on his knees.
A duly deserved two-song encore follows featuring the beautiful slice of Americana “Cairo Illinois” and crowd pleaser “La La Blues”, which results in a huge singalong from the Tyneside faithful. The quartet leaves the Riverside Newcastle stage to rapturous applause from their adoring audience.
Pokey LaFarge continues to keep traditional roots music alive on the international stage, whilst simultaneously promoting and introducing this treasured sound to a contemporary audience.
Event Date: 09-Mar-2018