CARLISLE ROCK AND BLUES FESTIVAL
CARLISLE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 2021
Artists alike were full of expectation, none more so than the Starlite Campbell Band as they appeared on stage as the first act of the weekend. This was only their second show in twenty months; after losing their livelihood and the reason for being a professional artist for that length of time, it was no surprise they were ready to give it their all. Suzy Starlite and Simon Campbell, joined by drummer Steve Gibson and Liam Gallagher’s keyboard player Christian Madden were straight into their stride and got the weekend off to a blistering start, an electrifying blues aperitif for the weekend to follow.
Colin Campbell, Edinburgh Blues Club for the festival.
HARE AND HOUNDS
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 2021
I arrived to see a stage set out with Hammond and piano keyboards, a Lesley cabinet, a platoon of guitars lined up on parade, including an over under 12 and 6 bore beast, and not a Fender or Gibson in sight. Vintage Echoplex, a Theramin, and a pedal array that would disgrace a cathedral organ, adding to the brooding beasts awaiting there moment. Simon and Suzy arrived, joining the audience for a social chat, before the arrival of drummer Steve Gibson, and master of the keys, Christian Madden, kicked things into life, we were ready to rock.
Straight off the album, and current single release, ‘Gaslight’, with its vintage Stones vibe, rolled out. Simon excorsised his Drake guitar, stood with Suzy, brandishing her new custom built Mike Lull bass. Christian’s Hammond helped whisk us off to, ‘Distant Lands’, a hint of things to come. The thick misty air, filled with the slow, moody blues of, ‘Cry Over You’, a particular favourite of mine, from the ‘Pie’ album, slowly baked, and full of silky fruit, an extended pleasure, the Hammond adding a dressing of whipped, airy cream, delicious.
The song that set them out on the road, and a juicy slice of Blueberry Pie, ‘Walkin’ Out The Door’, maybe battered and bluesed, had Simon reaching down to the shuffle stick on his Echoplex, stretching and shaping the cosmic closing chords. The guitar slipped gracefully into fhe gorgeous soul drenched blues of, ‘Lay It Out On Me’, a beautiful composition that proved mesmerising, leaving all spellbound. Its outstanding on the recording, Live will always be different, shame you can’t bottle it and take it home for another swig.
‘Guilty’, has Suzy taking lead vocals, on this slow confessional, Simon adds his solo, as the sultry funk rhythm throbs on, Steve holding down the timing as Suzy lays the bass line. We were rapidly heading toward the end of the non-stop, turbo driven evening, time to go a bit psychedelic, and step into the manic flight of ‘Said So’, Steve going flat out on drums, whipping up the storm, Christian is stratospheric, Simon is conjuring magic on the Theramin, a wonderful concoction. Simon has been bouncing round like a teenage punk rocker, defying his years, Suzy, in the guise of a starship trooper, had worn a huge smile all evening, whilst pulling those heavy strings, happy to be playing to the fans who appreciate an involving groove. ★★★★★
Graham Munn, Rhythm and Booze
HALF MOON, PUTNEY
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 2020
A few years ago Starlite Campbell released their first album together ‘Blueberry Pie’ and received a lot more than a smattering of good reviews, even being nominated for a Blues Award.
Last night they made a rare live appearance in London (they were based in Isle Of Man and now Germany) and played a couple of terrific sets at the Half Moon in Putney that got my hunger for the new album (due in October) wound up to the point of salivating.
The four – Simon Campbell on guitars, Suzy Starlite on bass, Steve Gibson on drums and guest Josh Phillips (Procul Harum) on Hammond & electric piano – played one of the tightest sets I’ve heard in years. The rhythm section of Starlite & Gibson hold the centre brilliantly, allowing Simon Campbell all the room he needs for his extensive soloing.
As a live experience, they communicated with the crowd, made jokes and clearly enjoyed playing in front of a very appreciative crowd. The Half Moon allows a very intimate relationship between band and audience and I’ve seen a few bands come a cropper thereby staying aloof from the crowd – not so Starlite Campbell, they made the crowd a part of the band from the off.
The very heart of their music is Blues but theirs is a very individual take and they manage to stay away from the usual clichés while still being instantly recognizable as a British Blues band.
The opening numbers were from Simon’s solo album ‘ThirtySix’ and got the crowd well warmed up for a few tracks from ‘Blueberry Pie’ and a terrific version of ‘Heart of Stone’ before introducing a new number ‘Said So’ which will be on the upcoming ‘Language Of Curiosity’. Simon Campbell’s guitar playing all through was strong and his use of a venerable Echoplex FX box and a Theremin added some intrigue to ‘Said So’.
The second set included an acoustic number ‘Hey Girl (What Do Ya Say)’ which is from a duo album they will be releasing in 2021 as well as more numbers from ‘Language of Curiosity’ and from the sounds of the new numbers, the new album should be something special.
Starlite Campbell have a great sound and a terrific live show – can’t wait to see them again. ★★★★
Andy Snipper: Music News, London. England.
HALF MOON, PUTNEY
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 2019
"Starlite Campbell are a stunning live band who have the most amazing energy both on and off stage! Their electric chemistry had everyone dancing for the whole night. We can’t wait to have them back again."
Nina Jackson: Music & Venue Manager, Half Moon, Putney, London. England.
"True spirit of independent blues! Great night with the Starlite Campbell Band in SW15.
So refreshing to catch a high-energy, enthusiastic band with virtuoso players and fresh material.
Special tip of the hat to Suzy Starlite whose name reflects her sparkling bass runs and unfettered dynamism.
They never dropped a note all night, and why would they with a line-up featuring Steve Gibson on drums, Jonny Henderson on hammond, Simon Campbell on guitar and the explosive Ms Starlite herself!"
Pete Feenstra: Lifetime British blues award winning London promoter
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 2018
“This was the real deal, scintillating stuff… Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite are mad for the music, and mad for each other – and their enthusiasm is infectious!"
"And then – and then, folks – they close out with ‘Walkin’ Out The Door’, the opening track from Blueberry Pie. And this slice of mid-Sixties style soulful blues, with some wah-wah atmospherics, gradually morphs into Led Feckin’ Zeppelin, the riff tipping the hat to the likes of ‘How Many More Times’ while Starlite channels John Paul Jones with an increasingly mountainous bass line. And Campbell goes into mad axeman mode, conjuring up a howling guitar interlude with the aid of an old-fashioned echoplex box of tricks – real analogue tape, boys and girls – ahead of an echo-laden solo. Greta Van Fleet eat your juvenile hearts out."
Iain Cameron: Blues Enthused.
FESTIVAL OF JAZZ & BLUES AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 2018
"The Starlite Campbell Band did more than rock the blues big top, the musical interplay, communication with the audience and get off your arse dance sounds and styles ensured the blues crowd as well as the band had a fantastic experience on Saturday night. The Starlite Campbell band's debut at Wangaratta was an absolutely overwhelming success indeed!!"
Frank Davidson: Co-artistic Director, Wangaratta Festival of jazz & blues, Australia.
ROSS ON WYE, UK - JULY 2018
"Your set was excellent and well-received. We’ll definitely get you back.”
Mike Bertenshaw: Creative Director, Linton Festival Board, England.
BLUES AT THE BAY
STOCKTON ON TEES, UK - DECEMBER 2018
"Without a doubt, the Starlite Campbell Band were the best band to play Blues At The Bay in 2018! They are a gem - something to be treasured. Unique, (overused, I know, but true).
Their original songs tell the story of their lives - they are entertaining, absorbing and life-affirming.
Consummate musicians and wonderful storytellers they are natural entertainers. I hope that one day they will play here again."
Peter Rafferty: Blues at the Bay, England.