Nookee plus Joe Kelly & The Royal Pharmacy

Another magical night at the Mid Wales Rhythm & Blues Club saw the welcome return to the Muse of some very talented friends.

Introduced by our ever-dapper compere Mr Paul Keddle, we were treated first to Joe Kelly and the Royal Pharmacy, who brought us their own unique brand of pitch-perfect soulful bluesy Americana.

Joe Kelly

It was obvious from the start that Joe was in fine voice, as he launched first into a poignant and delicate Dylan-esque song… then the whole band kicked in to complete the sound.

Joe Kelly and the Royal Pharmacy

Working together seamlessly as a cohesive unit, their style sometimes evoked traces of some fine old British blues rock, with perhaps hints of the Faces or Terry Reid – then at other times swung back in a more countrified American direction with nods towards Steve Earle and many other more eclectic modern influences.

Chris Vinnicombe

Chris Vinnicombe supplied some very fine echo and tremolo-laden lead guitar which melded perfectly with the energetic backing of bassist Niall Davey and drummer Morgan Wicks to create an impressively full-bodied and immersive sound.

Niall Davey
Morgan Wicks

The quality of Joe Kelly’s songwriting is particularly impressive, with excellently crafted songs such as “Holding On” and the raunchy “There you go again” (from the album World on Fire) – the latter bringing the audience to its feet for a much appreciated dance.

Joe Kelly

The audience certainly loved them, and we look forward to inviting the full band back again in the near future (hopefully with their keyboard player next time – get well soon!).

After the obligatory raffle… it was time for the eagerly anticipated return visit of Nookee.


They certainly know how to make an entrance! Adorned with black veils, and with much fan-waving, their initial psychedelia-tinged number carried dark hints of Dr John, grabbing the attention of the audience instantly… as they then launched seamlessly into some of the most engaging and exhilarating up-tempo funky soul-blues you could ever wish to experience.

Violet and Gemma Hunt-Humphries

Twin soul-sisters Violet and Gemma Hunt-Humphries have an incredible rapport as they trade superbly crafted vocal lines, swaying and gyrating hypnotically in mirror-images of one another, with much delightful arm-waving and hair-shaking. Their singing is amazingly accomplished, with wonderful harmonies and captivating shout-outs (‘you know what I’m talkin’ about…!’)

Matthew Lee
Ruben Kingman

The whole band worked together brilliantly, with no one person ever dominating – the two guitarists Matthew Lee and Ruben Kingman shared duties providing some amazingly echo-laden retro funk-psychedelic grooves, accompanied by the truly excellent drums and bass of Bryn Morris and Stefan Dale. As a band, they are perfectly attuned to one another, unaffected and joyously uninhibited.

Stefan Dale
Bryn Morris

It’s almost impossible to pick out individual numbers from their set, because the band as a whole has an almost supernatural ability to slip in and out of immersive retro-sounding grooves so effortlessly. However, stand-out tracks included their new single Devil’s Dining Room and the wonderfully bluesy ‘You’ve Got Your Story (An’ I Got Mine)’ – and of course a storming ‘Hound Dog’ to round off the night. The audience – up on its feet and dancing enthusiastically – had a great time.

The energy of the whole band is irrepressible and joyfully exuberant, and they deliver an irresistibly life-affirming soulful experience with a skill and maturity well beyond their years. They’re the kind of band you’d never get tired of seeing over and over again (you never quite know what they are going to do next!) – and we look forward to another opportunity before too long.

Many thanks as ever to all at the Muse for hosting us so well, to everyone involved in making the gig happen, and of course to everyone who came along to support two such fine bands.

Photos by Barry Hill
Review by Jim Kerslake

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