Bob Log III - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:2013-05-06

You know you’re onto something good when Tom Waits gleefully describes your act as, “the loudest, strangest stuff you’ve ever heard”. Chicago born slide-guitarist Bog Log III is certainly one of life’s more eccentric performers. Outlandish, raw and strikingly original; it’s easy to see why his mad-as-a-box-of-frogs take on delta blues would appeal to someone like Waits. 

The stage setup is fairly sparse to begin with; a bass drum, a stool and a huge, yellow rubber dinghy propped against the back wall. If the last few hours of a bank holiday equate to a reluctant winding-down for most people than someone clearly forgot to tell Bob Log. He takes to the stage wearing his now regulation getup; a full Evel Knievel jumpsuit and a glitter covered motorcycle helmet. The helmet completely covers Logs face and is made all the more surreal by the presence of a telephone attached to the front like some strange, elephant-like nose.

The party starts the minute Log sits down, launching into his frenzied take on the blues. Don’t be fooled by the pictures of Log sitting with his acoustic, his performance is noisy, electrified and wonderfully chaotic. Log shouts unintelligible lyrics through his helmet, whooping and hollering as he gives the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion a run for their money. It’s hard to know what the songs are about but I’d hazard a guess that booze, dancing and good old rock ‘n’ roll get the occasional mention.

With little asides to himself (“This is going to be so fucking good”) Log’s between song banter works a charm. There’s a deliberately exaggerated bravado at play here that has the Brudenell crowd laughing and in the palm of his hands from the get-go. It’s fair to say that Bob Log III isn’t the shy and retiring type. Log wills us to embrace the madness as he stands and punches the air triumphantly and hands out high-fives to the front row.

Log is keen to get the audience involved in the festivities and proceeds to throw a few packs of balloons into the crowd. The inflated balloons are thrown back on stage and surround Log as he serves up another blast of barely contained, punk blues. Another song see’s Log ask for a member of the audience to come onstage so he can serenade the back of their head, a hand shoots up immediately and soon Log is playing with a girl laughing and smiling while perched on his knee.

Finally, Log puts the rubber dinghy to good use as he crowd surfs over a sea of outstretched hands, flat on his back and still playing. It’s a wonderfully ridiculous sight and as hands stretch out to guide the dinghy along you feel like you’re part of the show, no longer a mere spectator but a valued guest at the best goddamn house party in the world. Log is a fantastic performer, utterly committed to entertaining his adoring public and putting on a show that you’ll be talking about for weeks to come. 

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