NO nonsense - it's a phrase many band rips out of their lexicon, preferring to over-elaborate, pontificate and pose. But, when The Bluefields hit the stage at The Diamond Rock Club on Friday (August 1st), they performed no-nonsense, heads down, damn fine set of southern rock 'n' roll.

From a no fanfare start to a "no we're not going to go into the other room for 15 seconds " encore The Bluefields showed their pedigree as four experienced, relaxed and powerful performers.

Dan Baird playing the ace card and the joker at the same time; Warner E. Hodges searing the room with heartfelt solos; Brad Pemberton, metronomic and powerful drumming; and, Joe Blanton the ball of energy frontman - this was an almost complete set of southern rock 'n'  roll.

If the Van Zandt brothers and the collective members of Molly Hatchet had been in the room they would have had to doff their Stetsons.

Playing a main set full of songs from the three The Bluefields albums to date, tracks from the latest release Under High Cotton, perhaps sounded the best, not least the title track.

Dan Baird was acting the clown with his in between songs banter; and while some of it may be rehearsed (don't start him about Tom Cruise...) it is delivered with an easy charm and the aid of his "magic" top hat.

What is clear from the playing and from the way the band interact they are just plain enjoying playing damn fine rock 'n' roll.

Shamefully for those too pre-occupied with some shit or another The Diamond was less than rammed. However, that didn't bother The Bluefields.

From the likes of 'Shake 'Em on Down' through 'Nobody Loves You' and the aforementioned 'Under High Cotton' each song was played with verve.

Hodges playing a range of guitars (including a twin neck) atop a bewildering array of pedals dragged emotion and soul from the strings, while Blanton was a sweating swirl of singing, with his battered Telecaster slung low. And, it is sometimes forgotten given his many other bands that Dan Baird is one helluva good bassist.

Hard work on stage is only equalled by an exhausting tour schedule, which saw them play Bolton the night before this show, and head straight to Sheffield the next night...

Encores brought forth the likes of 'Jesus Left Chicago' and 'Down Payment Blues' played with added flourish, before a surprise closer of a seriously fast and furious 'Tie Your Mother Down'.

The Bluefields may not be a familiar name to many, but the members' names should ring bells and should have gotten more people off their asses to visit The Diamond Rock Club floor. We think that if The Bluefields return there will be double the amount claiming to be there, than actually were there.

Authors: Jonny

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