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Eric Bibb. The Fyrefly. St Kilda. Sunday May 26, 2019
Review and photos: Greg Phillips

Midway through his set, after playing songs titled Going Down Slow and Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad, it suddenly occurred to Eric Bibb that its seems he’s always going somewhere. For the audience at Bibb’s second sold out show at St Kilda supper club, The Firefly they were going somewhere too, a two-hour long journey through the history of the blues via Bibb’s extensive catalogue of feel-good music.

Often tagged as being the happiest man in the world (the title of his 2016 album), it’s difficult to dispute the claim as Eric relates his stories of hope and joy to his adoring audiences worldwide. Audience interaction is key for Eric and he doesn’t mind a singalong either. Needed Time and Mole In The Ground gave ample opportunity for the crowd to test their lung capacity, revealing quite a few decent voices amid the general hum.

With A Dolla In My Pocket, from 2017’s Migration Blues record tells the poignant tale of a musician who disses his factory boss and has to flee town in a hurry without time to farewell his family. The silver lining is that he eventually finds himself in Chicago where he becomes a successful piano player. There’s a point to be made in all of Bibb’s tunes, messages that we can all take away and ponder.

The energy really lifted a notch when Eric pulled out a dynamic version of With My Maker I Am One from 2010’s Booker’s Guitar album. His band, consisting of long time guitarist Stefan Aster, bassist Neville Malcolm and drummer Paul Robinson (who played behind Nina Simone for 20 years) are seasoned musicians who watch, listen and respond to Bibb intuitively. Their contribution is not only solid but also beautifully sublime when such moments are required.

As the band took their second bows on stage, the crowd rose to their feet to salute a consummate performer and story teller. Before they even had time to sit down, Eric had already positioned himself near the exit door ready to chat and thank people as they left the venue … a humble and hugely talented guy with boundless positive energy. Eric Bibb is an artist that absolutely everyone needs to see at least once in their life.

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