Bob Log III - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Bob Log III - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date:
Bob Log III - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Bob Log III - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

I first saw international bluesman of mystery Bob Log III a couple of years ago in this very venue. It’s not the kind of experience you forget. I might not know all that much about Mr Log, even what he really looks like for that matter, but I know that he’s one hell of an entertainer. Dressed like some glittery reincarnation of Evil Knievel and playing some of the craziest blues you’ve ever heard, seeing Bob Log III play live is a fun and pretty unique experience.

When I walk into the Brudenell Community Room support act Lewis Burner is already on stage. From Leeds but smitten with Americana, Burner and his band play a set of country, bluegrass and goodtime rock ‘n’ roll. Much more traditional than the chaos to come later in the evening, Lewis’ songs are brought to life with acoustic guitar, double bass, harmonica and some particularly excellent banjo playing.

Delivered with energy and enthusiasm, it occasionally feels like you’ve stepped back in time to a hoedown in a barn somewhere. There’s a song about Leeds watering hole The Duck and Drake (‘One Way Ticket’), an ode to American coal mining (‘Coal Tattoo’) and plenty about the open road and ploughing through hard times.

Throw in a cover of Tom Petty’s ‘Apartment Song’ and you’ve got yourself a great set and a brilliant start to the evening. They end with the rather beautiful ‘Throwing Stones’  by Charlie Speed, another Leeds blues player, and friend to the band, who sadly passed away last year.

With the rubber dingy already on stage (I’ll get to that later) Bob Log III starts his set from the dressing room, a blues riff rattling out of the amplifier but with the man himself nowhere to be seen. The crowd are looking around to see where he is when he appears from behind the door to the side of the stage, dressed like cross between Vegas-era Elvis and some kind of eccentric stuntman.

As usual Log’s face is obscured by his cycle helmet (complete with a house phone strapped to the front) while his costume consists of a gold and glittery jumpsuit. Clearly, this man hasn’t just appeared from the backstage area, he’s been beamed directly from Mars. Playing a battered (but amplified) acoustic and accompanying himself with a small kick drum, Log starts his set by asking us one simple question “Do you wanna get a bit weird?”

Weird is certainly one way to describe the show that follows. Log plays a rather frenzied reinterpretation of delta blues, fast and thoroughly exciting. Later on someone describes Log’s style as what Australian noise-duo Lighting Bolt would sound like if they played bluegrass. Throw in a dash of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and you’ll begin to get the idea. This is blues, ladies and gentlemen, but not as we know it.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this much dancing at a gig before. The whole performance feels like a celebration, a full-on Saturday night party. And what party would be complete without balloons?  Log throws a pack out into the audience and gets us to start blowing. The balloons are then thrown on stage for Log to stamp on as he plays. Why you may ask? Well, why not.

People put drinks on stage for him throughout the night which Log then uses to fill a frog shaped paddling pool and a dog bowl. His reasoning, he tells us, is to find out which receptacle the good people of Leeds prefer to drink out of. Plenty are more than happy to give both a try.

Funny and foul-mouthed, Bob Log has the Brudenell crowd very much on his side. At one point, with the party in full swing, he has two female volunteers from the audience, laughing and sitting on his knees as he plays. There’s a fun and eccentric kind of debauchery going on here tonight.

The aforementioned bright orange rubber dingy sits at the back of the stage. Patiently waiting for its moment in the spotlight. I know what’s coming yet it’s no less exciting when he finally uses it to crowd surf over a sea of outstretched hands, continuing to play his guitar as he’s jostled around the room.

Occasionally, as he sips a beer, I get a glimpse of Logs face (well, his chin anyway) but his mystery remains very much intact as he does a victory lap of high-fives with the audience. Everyone wanting to thank him for a great time. Everyone just a little bit starstruck. Slinking back through the door to the left of the stage like a glitzy Nosferatu, Bob Log III leaves me considerably happier then when I arrived. That man sure can throw a party.

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