Without doubt, The Animals were one of the most important bands originating from England’s R&B scene during the early ’60s, and second only to the Rolling Stones in bringing hard faithful R&B-to British audiences. I suppose it was some unease that I approached The Animals and Friends thinking that like so many of those sixties “resurrections” they would only appeal to the achingly nostalgic. However, I am glad to say that the band delivered a satisfyingly rock solid performance.
For this gig drummer John Steel, an original member of The Animals, was joined by Peter Barton on bass and vocals, Danny Handley on lead guitar and Mickey Gallagher on keyboards. It’s worth noting that Gallagher has historic connections with The Animals having replaced a departing Alan Price in 1965 – so no stranger to the band or the music.
His excellent playing was much to the fore offering a driving rhythm through many of the old standards but always effectively contrasted by Barton’s deep booming voice to great effect – especially on Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home” and Bennie Benjamin’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” .
After that the numbers came fast and furious – Bright Lights Big City, “We Gotta Get out of This Place”, John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” and ending with an passionate “House of the Rising Sun”.
That afternoon The Animals and Friends showed that they have the power to capture an audience with their coruscating mix of blues, rock, and soul. It’s great to see that they are taking it on the road throughout 2013.
Moreover, to add to that Animal magic the ‘legendary’ Steve Cropper will be guesting.
Article originally appeared in The Flaneur online magazine.