It’s not very often you can say I had a near death experience because of a Damson ( the fruity plum like devils) but its true I was almost killed by a Damson. I was visiting the in laws with my girlfriend when Dave (the mayor of Uppingham and aforementioned girlfriends’ father) said lets sidle along to the pub and have a try of this new beer they’ve got on. I’m sure you will like it. Now Dave as well as being the Mayor is also a crazy CAMRA real ale type and loving a drop of the real stuff myself, I had my shoes on as quick as a flash and my coat ready to hit the town. After several pints of this offending ale which much to my lament, to this day is the single tastiest beer I’ve ever quaffed. I started to feel unwell. The beer a Damson Porter by the way had started to affect me in some rather non beer\drunkenness ways. After a terrible 48 hours which involved time in hospital and many many drips and other medical related happenings the doctors determined I must have had a severe allergic reaction to something I had eaten or drunk. My mind has locked on to that pesky beer and its evil ingredient ever since, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
To go to the pub and almost die (well maybe not) is certainly a life moment, I’ve had a few since some in pubs although not all of them but non as life threatening as a night out with Dave.
One life moment that springs to mind involved the pub, my local to be precise The Grand in Bishop Auckland about 12 months ago now. The Grand sadly no longer lives up to its name in the looks department, built for the railway traveller of yore in about 1900 it’s a listed building that’s seen better days but everyone who drinks in there loves it. Great Beer (no killers as yet), a friendly management team and a Live Band every week. Now this particular March Saturday was a real eye opener for me not the usual pub band but someone with a growing reputation and a local boy no less.
Mitch Laddie was about unleash his second album Burning Bridges and that night was part of a pre launch tour. For those of you not familiar with Mitch he is an early twenty something Blues guitarist\singer songwriter from the North East and in his younger days was something of the sportsman but after a serious injury which involved months in hospital he took up the guitar in a serious way having just strummed along on his dads that was left lying around the house. Sports loss was music’s gain, American guitarist Walter Trout has said in interview and I quote “Mitch is amazing. If you close your eyes when he is playing he sounds like a guy who’s been at it for Forty years and has had all these experiences, and maybe comes out of some Classic Rock band. He has an incredible gift.”
He’s been compared with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Hendrix, high praise indeed. Needless to say that night was a great experience.
The album itself is an hour of blues utopia, his voice is perfectly suited to this genre angst ridden, soulful and with a powerful maturity that his surpassed only by his playing ability. Boy can this kid play. With tracks like the hard edged Take a Bite, the pulsating Paper In Pocket ( we’d all like some of that now wouldn’t we) we get a chance to marvel at his ability to lead a band from behind the guitar, in contrast to that you get the almost ‘Police’ like Gone and Give You the World where Mitch shows you his vocal talents. However the highlight of this disc for me is Mr Johnson Revisited a track that Mitch uses to showcase his virtuosity and musicianship to the highest levels.
March 2013 signals the start of another UK tour for Mitch and the Burning Bridges album with I’m sure be the main focus again.
I was never a blues man before I got the chance to hear Mitch Laddie but I am now. There’s a common misconception that blues is played and listened to by miserable old men who’s wives have left them and the dog has up and died. I can tell you now it aint the case. If you get the opportunity listen to Mitch I urge you to, even better go see him live. It might just turn out to be a life moment with not a damson in sight.