Tomcat Playground is a new act on the blues scene, but if I was to mention Ali Penney and the Moneymakers, The Jacky Howellers and the Sound of KoKo, that would probably ring a few bells. The Playground has been formed using some of the east coast’s finest blues musicians from those bands.
It is a four piece, consisting of guitarist Dave Blanken, bass player Mike Rix (both from the award winning Ali Penney & the Moneymakers), Dan Sullivan (The Jacky Howellers) and Greg Clark (Sound of Koko).
The act announced itself with a knock-out performance at the 2016 Sydney blues festival, showing the influences of such U.S greats as Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf and Freddie King.
Delivering a high energy, swinging style of traditional blues reminiscent of an era of Saturday night Juke joints, back alley gambling haunts and jazz bars, the act delivers both an electrified and acoustic style of blues guitar and harmonica backed by a superb rhythm section, ensuring audiences consistently leave gigs sweating, smiling and wanting more.
This followed with an appearance on the sell-out P&O “Blues Cruise.” The cruise was an amazing four days from Sydney up to Morton Island, off Brisbane, and back. The cruise featured jam sessions with their musicians, concerts in the Marquee, music quizzes and Q&As with the musicians.
Tomcat Playground have a video taken on the cruise on their Facebook page – kill two birds with one stone: hear them, and get a feel for the cruise. Feedback from passengers (via social media, not P&O material) was incredibly positive. I don’t know about you, but I’m keeping an eye out for the next one.
They have also secured a place at the upcoming “Blues on Broadbeach” 2017. “Blues at Broadbeach” is on at the Gold Coast from May 18 – 21, and is a free festival, so you’d better get sorted asap. There’s an amazing line-up – check it on www.bluesonbroadbeach.com.
Currently Tomcat Playground is working on a CD, which is expected to be out at the end of April – perhaps in time for their Geelong gig. At the time of writing, they are trying to select a title. Some suggestions on their Facebook page include ‘You can’t kill Onion Grass’, ‘Pussy Pattin’, ‘Officer Dibble’s Blues’ and ‘On the Prowl.’ I think I’d vote for ‘On the Prowl.’
They deliver a high energy, swinging style of traditional blues reminiscent of an era of Saturday night Juke joints, back alley gambling haunts and jazz bars, Tomcat Playground are ensuring audiences consistently leave gigs sweating, smiling and wanting more. I like their reinvigorating a tradition of music with their own brand of flair, this act is not one to miss for the pure blues follower.
These blokes are based in Sydney, so it’s not often that we will have this opportunity. It could be a long time before they head this far south (at least until winter is over) so don’t miss out. Tomcat Playground will be at Sleepy Hollow Blues Club, back of Trades Hall on April 23rd .