- by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date: Label:
For us mere mortals it’s a Tuesday night, perhaps the most unremarkable night of the entire week. The weekend just gone is nothing but a fading memory, the next too far away to get excited about. Thankfully Bob Log III isn’t a 9 to 5 kind of guy. For Mr. Log, every night is Saturday night and for the next few hours, we’ll be honoured guests at the best party in town.
It’s good to see Lewis Burner again; Burner and his band supported Bob Log this time last year. Leeds born-and-bred but in thrall to Americana, the band play a mix of country, bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll. The stripped-back sound created by acoustic guitar, double-bass, drums and the nimble fingered banjo skills of Burner’s Dad. The drummer, using one solitary drum, keeps the sets freight train momentum.
The four-piece get the Brudenell crowd into the swing of things with a set of surprisingly upbeat songs about crying, dying and drinking. Friends from Leeds become “outlaws from the wrong side of town” while one local pub becomes forever enshrined in song with the excellent ode to excess ‘One Way Ticket’. The band even treats us to a superb rendition of Hank Williams classic ‘Ramblin’ Man’. I’m sure Mr .Williams himself would have approved of tonight’s barnstorming performance.
If tonight’s first act came to get the barn dance-come-party started then Bob Log III came to burn the whole thing to the ground and dance around in the ashes. It doesn’t matter how many times you see him perform, it’s always an invigorating and much welcome shock to the system.
A fast-fingered bluesman dressed in skin-tight trousers and a glittery motorcycle helmet (compete with an old school telephone strapped to the front). Just in case he looked a little too pedestrian he’s also wearing a cape. It seems reasonable to assume that Bob Log might very well be a genuine superhero. You want to know how Avengers: Endgame pans out? Log saves the universe with his wild delta blues. Take that Thanos.
The first notes are struck from the backstage area, Log always keen to make an entrance. “Leeds!” he yells “let me hear you say woo! Let me hear you say somebody stole my wallet…but I’m going to buy Bob Log three drinks anyway!”
Log knows how to get a crowd going; we’re shouting back chants and laughing along within seconds. Audience participation on a Tuesday night I hear you cry? Some would have thought it impossible but it’s no big deal for Bob Log.
“I’m not gonna lie” Log confides “for just a second there I blew my own mind”. One half blues demon and one half comedian; nearly every word that leaves Logs mouth has us laughing. It has to be said, Log does sound pretty incredible tonight too.
Playing an amped up, detuned acoustic and accompanying himself with a drum pedal attached to an upturned cymbal and tambourine. Real one-man band stuff. There’s also some programmed drum beats to up the intensity. We’re but 10 minutes into the set before he tells us, in the style of an over excitable Jon Spencer, “ladies and gentlemen, this is quite possibly the best night of my life”.
Pictures of Log brandishing his acoustic could be a little misleading; it’s a loud, frazzled and utterly wild sound. Gleefully discordant delta blues, sped-up and unshackled from any preconceptions about the genre. Log clearly loves the blues too much to play it straight. All this and, as Log informs us, he can’t even see what he’s doing. Perhaps the one downside to wearing a crash helmet on stage (although it doesn’t seem to hold him back).
Like any good host, Log ensures his guests are thoroughly entertained throughout. Throwing balloons into the crowd, making toast live on stage and filling an inflatable duck and a dog bowl with Bucks Fizz. You’ve heard the phrase, he had them eating out of the palm of his hands right? Well, Log has his audience drinking from a dog bowl. I stick with my can of lemonade but the thoughts appreciated anyway.
Log asks the crowd to come on stage, sit on his knee and take a commemorative selfie with him while he plays. Some cynical people, he tells us, might not believe you when you tell them what happened here tonight. A huge queue forms as half the audience get on stage for a Bob Log selfie. Like a fool, I don’t join the line. Next time, I’m getting on stage. I should really invite some friends along too; it’s the kind of show you have to see to believe.