Nine Below Zero

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Nine Below Zero: Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne  -7th November 2015

Veteran rhythm and blues heroes Nine Below Zero steamed onto the Tivoli stage last night (Friday 27th Nov), cranked the volume up to eleven and blasted their way through a set that instantly had the devoted dancing in the aisles.

Launching into the Eric Clapton/Freddie King classic Tore Down,  the band set the tone for the evening.  But it wasn’t plain sailing. Three numbers in and a cacophonous reading of The Four Tops I Can’t Help Myself brought realisation that the blistering volume was doing more harm than good.

The classic NBZ line-up of Dennis Greaves, guitar/vocals; Mark Feltham, harmonica; Mickey Burkey, drums and Brian Bethell on bass are back together for the first time for nearly 35 years.  By anyone’s reckoning they’re a class act but until someone had the good sense to cut the volume by just a notch or two all subtleties (and there were many) were lost.

Happily the band soon slipped into a more accessible groove, delivering two sets loaded with crowd-pleasers like Stormy Monday, Riding on the L&N and  I’ve Got My Mojo Working, climaxing with encores of Rocket 88 and Woolly Bully.

Along the way there was a tribute to their old mate and great rock ‘n’ roll survivor Wilko Johnson as they whipped through Dr Feelgood’s  Twenty Yards Behind. Frontman Greaves also proved more than able to deal with hecklers. After a less than helpful remark from a particularly loud and over-excited individual he simply fixed him with a weary stare and advised: “Never drink on an empty head.”

Jeremy Miles


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