The Lightnin Rods & Bourbon Y Tequila

Wayne ClarkWhat a night! Last night I met up with James and some of his friends, over from York and headed out to my favorite jazz and blues venue in Leeds, The Wardrobe. The venue as I have mentioned before is split between a cafe bar on the top floor serving food, and a club downstairs. Last night was particularly special as there was a live band upstairs and downstairs, and with my membership I got to swap between the two as I fancied, all for £5!

Upstairs there was a superb blues band, The Lightnin Rods, the lead singer from which is pitured on the left. I arrived slightly early and the band hadn’t yet started, but I was glad I didn’t miss the start, because they were an amazing combination. Although a blues band “on the tin” they had some very funky rhythms under their hats, the trumpeter and keyboard player especially served up some amazing jazz / funk style melodies. The blues focus was not lost however, and when the group came back after a break they got stuck in with some real low-down blues that soon had me tapping my foot and feeling the bluesy vibes!

Many groups attempt covers, but this band seemed to almost re-write things, and I must say do an outstanding job of it too. My favorite songs of the whole night were their version of “Got my Mo Jo working”, originally by Jimmy Smith, and “Compared to what” most recently recognised as being performed by Al Jareau. For a free entry event, this group are well worth a look. The Wardrobe is like a semi home for them, and they have had many gigs there in the past and are bound to return – keep a look out – I will certainly be returning to see them play again!

Bourbon Y TequilaIf this performance wasn’t enough, as soon as the last track was over, I made my way down into the club, situated below the cafe bar in the wardrobe, where Bourbon Y Tequila, a 9 piece latin jazz band were playing late into the night as part of The Wardrobe’s semi-season of fortnightly latin jazz gigs. The group are pictured playing live on the right.

Normally I only listen to latin jazz in small doses, and the sum total of my knowledge  on the genre consists of a few tracks by Pete Rodriguez! It didn’t stop me from quickly getting into the rhythm of the music and latin beats however, and after a couple of swift drinks at the bar, I was soon dancing my heart out and cheering the band on for more at the end of every number.

The musicianship of the group was very impressive, and the well timed vocals and precussion was complimented perfectly by an amazing brass section, most enjoyable to listen to as well as dance to. This style I’m sure will be replicated by other latin acts soon to play at the wardrobe, so its worth heading down there to check out whats on.

If the latin band wasn’t enough there was also a DJ for when their set finished, spining some superb heavy latin and salsa beats on the decks, great fun to dance along to, so much so I was almost loathed to leave when the night came to a close.

Best night out I have had in ages is the only verdict I can give to this wonderful musical infusion! 🙂


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