Live Reviews

  Big Baby Ernie live at Gregson Centre in Lancaster

All the way from New Jersey, USA comes Big Baby Ernie to the civilised confines of the Gregson Centre in Lancaster. Bringing the kind of rock solid, dance 'til you die groove that is rarely found these days, they purvey that soul magic that we had thought lost. Introduced as a jazz funk band, this description does not do them justice for they are truly a powerhouse of a soul machine.

big baby ernie live on stage

It does not take long for this band to warm up the crowd tonight. Drummer Bryan Bosen is a metronome with soul. He gets our feet tapping. Then the crowd move from their drinks to the dance floor. The temperature in the room starts to rise. Nobody will be able to stay still and that is the way that it turns out. You know the sign of a good live band? They don't care whether there are ten people in the room or ten thousand and they won't stop until they have won everyone over. If we have to classify their sound, we would have to call it steamroller soul on a mission to trample all mediocrity in its path. Lead singer Big Baby Ernie? He is Southside Johnny, he is Barry White, he is Jamiroquai but most of all he is his own man and by the end of their set, the audience will know that.

It is often said - especially by us - that music nowadays has become sterile and uninvolving. Then you hear a band like Big Baby Ernie perform live and you believe again. You believe in the way that music can uplift your soul. An example, we hear you say. One of the best songs of the evening was "Hurricane Song". It's got the lot. Passion, a killer hook and a sledgehammer groove. Songs like this should not come out of New Jersey. They should come out of Muscle Shoals. And when this band finally reach the end of their set, they bring Ben Ruth (of the Convulsions) on to the stage and transform themselves into an urban blues band. Shut your eyes and you are back in seventies' Chicago listening to Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows. These guys sweat soul and they are not going to stop until the whole room is moving. Bryan Bosen throws away his drumsticks and beats the skins by hand. Now that is commitment.

crowd at big baby ernie gig

100% heart and 100% soul. This is the way live music should be. Soaked with sweat and smelling strongly of beer (not sure how that happened!), Bluesbunny considered his options as he hit the street. A large chicken kebab or some impromptu dancing in the street. No contest!

There is an epithet - the hardest working band in show business is the one we are thinking of - that should be applied to Big Baby Ernie. Satisfaction guaranteed or your dancing shoes back. If you get the chance, catch this band live. You will believe!

Review Date: August 31 2007