Bluesy gutsy talent at Warwick Arts Centre

The Swaps
The Swaps

THE Swaps, Warwick Arts Centre Studio, January 25.

WHAT a great band - and where did the vocalist get that fantastic voice?

Beth Brooks, aged just 26, was Janis Joplin one minute and a melting Cadbury’s caramel the next - all bluesy rasp with a chocolately soft centre.

The band has won a regular slot at Wilde’s wine bar in Leamington but used their full-line up for this arts centre gig with shoeless Beth out front mixing inventive home-grown songs like East, Walking Blues and Yesterday with a few re-spun covers.

Adding a distinctive twist to the clever guitar playing was Tomo Sugisaka on a blues harp that soared free of the overall sound, dipping down to weave in and out at will before taking off in different directions.

On Friday the band was introduced by lead guitarist James Knight, who joins in with some of the vocals. His voice blends well with Beth’s – not that she needs much help from her friends – and together they flip between an upbeat, foot-tapping groove to a smoother, nightclub feel that made me think I should be sitting in some smoky honky-tonk bar south of the Mississipi. .

Bluesy, gutsy, stylish – as soon as I get the chance I definitely plan to see this outfit in action again.

This is home-grown talent that’s well worth hearing. They are playing tonight (Monday) at Wilde’s Wine Bar in the Parade, Leamington, at 8pm. Call 336732 for details.

Barbara Goulden