Old Ale House, Truro – Thursday 18/01/2018
Ben Waters is not someone you would expect to see sitting at a piano organising a sing along in the middle of a pub, but that’s what happened when he visited the Old Ale House!
“Quite simply the best boogie woogie piano player in this country today. His show is full of humour warmth and downright wizardry”
(Blues & Rhythm)
Ben’s band were selected by Ray Davies as one of his favourite bands when he curated the Royal Festival Hall’s 60th Anniversary “Meltdown Festival”. He also performed at Jools Holland’s wedding and is one of his favourite piano players of all time! Other credentials include playing for royalty and working with household names like The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Shakin’ Stevens, Mick Hucknall, Paul Weller, Nine Below Zero and many many more. So what (you might ask) was he doing in my local, on a cold and windy Thursday in January?
Well the answer is, giving a jaw dropping free performance. Hot from Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, and on his way down to The Acorn Theatre in Penzance he stopped off to see Robin and do a solo show. Just Ben and his piano and as many songs as he could storm through in one night – and boy did he storm! Almost 3 hours without a break, one song merging seamlessly into the next and ranging wildly from Simon & Garfunkel to AC/DC and Queen via The Monkees, Van Morrison, Creedence Clearwater, Bowie, Elton John and many classic boogie woogie favourites as well.
Looking around the pub the sheer wonder on people’s faces was as good as the music; the dance floor was packed and if people weren’t dancing they were tapping hands and feet and singing along. I don’t think there was a single person in the busy pub who wasn’t absolutely blown away by this lovely, funny, mesmerising performer.
For me though the highlight was at the end of the night after most people had left. The staff were clearing up and only 15 or so stragglers were left, Local musician Paul Simmons and Ben started jamming 3 and 4 handedly and continued to wow us for another 20 minutes or so, after which Ben carried on playing, the microphone got set back up and it morphed into a hilarious open mic/sing around the piano sesh.
If last night doesn’t become legendary in the Old Ale House annuls I will be very much surprised as it was 100% top class entertainment from beginning to end, and a proper old knees up.
Review by Debi W
Photos by Mark Zaig Photography
Video by Keith Mountfield