Big Boy Bloater
Sunday 15th May
100 Club London
Big Boy Bloater and The LiMiTs Roots and R&B rocked the iconic 100 Club venue in Oxford Street, London last Sunday night. On the fourth leg of their 'Luxury Hobo' UK tour, BBB&TL’s mixed it up with some great tracks – new and old. In fact - given it was the last day of the Premiership season (well almost) – to use a footballing analogy – their set was very much a case of two halves.
BBB&TL’s released their new album 'Luxury Hobo' at the end of February and with a fascination for textures and subtle narratives 'LH' sees Bloater in a tougher, deeper and more expressive mode following a bout of depression in 2013 which has led it to take a lot darker and personal tone. The brilliantly entitled 'I Love You (But I Can't Stand Your Friends)' - which opened seven consecutive songs from ‘LH’ - with BBB&TL’s 70's rock n' roll style big guitar and keys plus lyrics - which Bloater said (in a soon to be broadcast interview before the gig) that everyone could identify with! 'Robot Girlfriend’ further reinforced Bloater's thoughtful lyrics intertwined with his mean Blues guitar solo - whilst the quasi title track 'Luxury Hobo Blues' saluted the genre with its catchy neat riff.
Songwriter and Total Radio Rock presenter Bloater’s Howlin’ Wolf/Tom Waits-esque gravelly vocal delivery, coupled with his distinctive and dynamic guitar style has seen him build on the Blues foundation offering insights into rockier territories, aided and abetted with his ability to weave story-telling around barbed observations. This is typified by 'It Came Out Of The Swamp', a musical barnstormer - with its brilliant baseline, awesome keyboards from Dan Edwards, mean guitar and imaginative lyrics, which Bloater delivers perfectly in (and I had it on good authority from a BBB&TL’s virgin) a very George Thorogood-esque manner. And if you haven't seen the Vid yet then do yourself a favour and check it out on Youtube - it's hilarious – Bloater’s Lego and all.
Hand-clapping heralded the arrival of 'I Got The Feeling Someone's Watching Me' with it's tango feel rubber-stamping the musical versatility of 'Luxury Hobo' followed by the Bluesy slide guitar intro of 'The Devils Tail' again with some standout groovy piano. 'All Things Considered' proved that Bloater certainly has 'Soul' in his locker – with Matt Cowley on drums and Steve Oates on bass guitar taking it to the limit.
BBB&TL’s then went back to their self-titled debut album with ‘Every Path Has It’s Puddle’ which originally featured Imelda May – with its ‘feverish’ drum intro and its “kiss and a cuddle” reinforcing the vocal and guitar quality of Bloater’s earlier stuff - followed by the groovy ‘I Can’t Forget About You’ and a rock ‘n rolling ‘Double Whammy’ from their second album ‘The World Explained’. You’ve heard of ‘Messin With The Kid’ but ‘Messin With The Booze’ took us back to Bloater and The City Shakers – the fusion of Edwards keys and Bloater’s guitar a mighty nod to Booker T. & the M.G.'s. Classic!
It’s not actually ‘Rocket Surgery’ is it? Well actually it was as BBB<’s delved back to their first album with this fast mover plus also ‘Sweet & Brown’ – the guys getting up a full head of steam by now as – “Hallelujah” – we were welcomed to “The Church Of Big Boy Bloater” – cue the gospel interaction with the Bloater congregation. “You guys are good” being Preacher Bloater’s response. The 100 Club was now rockin’ and yes we were ‘Insanely Happy’ bopping away to this track again from ‘The World Explained’. And the day after Eurovision 2016 – even if the intro to ‘Big Fat Trap’ sounded a little bit like Abba’s ‘Ring Ring’ – Bloater went on to prove he is the “King Of Twang” on this belter from BBB&TL’s debut album.
BBB&TL’s rounded off their second half with another fast mover ‘Leonard Cohen’ from ‘The World Explained’ before rounding off the gig and keeping up the pace of ‘Luxury Hobo with its closing track 'Not Cool Man' - with it's awesome keys, guitar and lyrics including the line "he's a nose picker" - you can't accuse those guys of not being entertaining! Very cool man! And they kept the best for last as Bloater’s distorted guitar intro meant we were closing with the foot-tapping 'LH' opener 'Devils Not Angels' and its killer Stranglers/Costello style keys, rock n' roll guitar and Bloater’s distinctive gruff but great vocals. What a great song to round off a brilliant evening. Watch out for Bloater’s Wrinklycast interview shortly - but in the meantime make sure you catch the guys before their UK tour ends. Do not miss them!