Monday, 14 May 2012

Bob Log III, Live at The Greystones. Sheffield, UK (2012)

This jump suited, one man force of nature plays the drums with his feet, sings through a telephone taped to the visor of a motorcycle helmet and plays a warped form of punky, garage blues on his old Silvertone guitar. It might be tempting to dismiss him as a one man band sideshow but his music is borne from a deep love and understanding of Delta blues, scotch, breasts and more than a little insanity.

Born in Tuscon, Arizona, Bog Log got his first guitar at the tender age of 11. By the time he was 16 he was deeply immersed in Delta Blues being raised on the music of Screaming Jay Hawkins and Lightnin’ Hopkins, his sound is inspired in equal parts by Mississippi Fred McDowell and AC/DC. He’s a formidable guitarist who’s forged his own unique style utilizing super low tunings, his slide playing sounds monstrous - the loose strings combined with his powerful finger picking technique let him snap and slide his dirty electric blues in a way that probably shouldn’t be possible.

He began his career playing with a metal/blues band named Mondo Guano which he left to form the blues rock duo Doo Rag. While on tour his percussionist Thermos Malling suddenly quit, leaving Log scrambling for a way to finish the booked dates. Donning a recently acquired thrift store helmet, he miked up his guitar case and kicked it to keep the beat. Eventually he replaced the case with a kick drum and cymbal, augmenting his one man rhythm even further by adding a drum machine which he triggers with his feet.

His records are amazing but it's in a live setting that Bob Log really shines. The Greystones in Sheffield is essentially the back room in a (rather fine) pub which is located in a leafy suburb of the city. I spoke to Bob before the show and he said that he loved this venue because it was intimate and had a great sound.

Bob has previously described his 'business' in the press as a 'guitar dance party' and that's just what you get from the word go. He arrives onstage in his trademark lycra jumpsuit and matching motorcycle helmet playing crazy-ass slide blues licks on his wireless antique guitar. Everything he plays is met with nothing less than rapture from the packed throng, his frantic guitar wrangling causes the whole room to explode into a dervish of wild head nodding and freaky dancing. Between songs, Bob is supremely witty and droll, his frequent ad-libs and interjections are hilarious and almost as essential as the music itself;

"I'm Bob Log III and I'm sitting on a whole bunch of tables. Let me tell you something, this shit ain't even taped together people, anything could happen.  Oh my god, I've done a lot of crazy shit man but, you guys, they put me on tables."

You should most definitely track down all four of Bob Log's studio albums and also check out his work as Doo Rag. What you should also do is go and see him live to experience the guitar dance party in full force. Whilst there, buy the great man a drink - or 'liquid applause' as he likes to call it.

His shit is most definitely perfect.

Also worth mentioning here are the support band, a local two piece called 16 Hooves who play a mix of busted hardcore and Earth-like grindcore miniatures. The drummer in particular is something to behold, slashing at his tiny kit with an unhinged smile like a punk Keith Moon. Check out their slightly dormant myspace page for a few old tracks and look out for a forthcoming Facebook page.

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