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The Spitz Festival of Blues can justifiably claim to be the premier blues event in London, and probably the UK. While other festivals seem content to operate in a 'Blues' ghetto, appealing only to the same (ever decreasing) circle of 'aficionados', the Spitz has consistently put on a month's worth of top quality and varied shows which challenge the definition of what blues music can be, balanced with acts that even the most dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists should be able to appreciate. What's more they don't just preach to the converted but attract audiences from outside the blues world helping to maintain a vital, vibrant and lively scene.
This year is no exception and puts the focus squarely on the American Deep South with a series of shows featuring T-Model Ford, Kenny Brown, Robert Belfour, Seasick Steve, The Black Diamond Heavies, Heavy Trash and Scott H Biram. From Australia one of the original punk blues bands The Scientists play and the U.K. is also strongly represented with headlining shows from Wilko Johnson, Holly Golightly and Gallon Drunk.
The core shows of this year’s festival feature three legendary artists signed to the maverick Mississippi record label Fat Possum. First up is The Tail Dragger from Greenville, Mississippi AKA Mr T-Model Ford. T-Model played a fantastic show at the first Spitz festival in 2005 and rocked the house with a mammoth 3 ½ hour set, this year he closes the festival on Saturday 28th April with his accomplice Lightnin’ Malcolm.
Kenny Brown is Mississippi punk blues royalty; an astonishing artist in his own right, Kenny was the right hand man, lead guitarist and adopted son of Fat Possum Mack Daddy R.L.Burnside (RIP).
Along with R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and T-Model Ford, Robert Belfour re-defined the blues genre with records released on the maverick Mississippi record label Fat Possum. Unlike the electric driven blues of RL, Junior and T-Model, Robert plays clear and powerful acoustic hill country blues. With most of his contemporary's now passed on, Robert Belfour is one of the last few living authentic acoustic North Mississippi Hill Blues musicians still playing out.
Jon Spencer was
of course the prime mover in The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and before
that Pussy Galore. The JSBX recorded a punk blues landmark
record with 'A Ass Pocket of Whiskey' in collaboration with R.L. Burnside and
Brown. With Heavy Trash,
Jon teams up with Speedball Baby main man Matt
Verta-Ray and throws the
spot light on the blues’ Southern hillbilly cousin, rock-a-billy.
Diamond Heavies closed last years festival so it seemed apt
that the boys are opening this year’s. Now signed to Alive
Records and armed with a block rocking debut release 'Every
The Heavies are supported by their spiritual Texan country punk
brother Scott H Biram making his SFoB debut.