All material © Blues in London. All rights reserved.
Support Blues in London
Shop for anything here and
we get a small commission
NO EXTRA COST TO YOU!
Last year The Spitz devoted and entire month to showcasing
'The Blues' in all it's modern diverse glory with a broad ranging and
imaginative program. From the dirty authenticity of Fat Possum's
T-Model Ford, to the beatbox
and falsetto blues-sterics of Son
and the out and out 'Nu Blues' primal scream of the Immortal
Lee County killers they demonstrated that not only is the
blues alive and well, it's still smoking behind the bike sheds,
getting drunk, sticking two fingers up, and generally
refusing to do what it's told. Just as it always has done...
This year they're doing it again, this time in assocaition with Not
The Same Old Blues Crap/Punk Rock Blues Records and once again
it's an eclectic line-up sampling a wide cross section of styles and attitudes.
Rupert Orton of Punk Rock Blues Records
guides us through the thinking behind the festival and introduces the
"The Spitz celebrates where the blues is at in the 21st
century with a series of 11 fantastic shows throughout April. This is
no moth-balled, anachronistic blues fest: oh no, the blues we celebrate
is created by young and mature musicians alike using the blues as a template
to create modern, innovative music, inverting tried and tested structures
and turning tradition on its head.
"It is now 103 years since W.C.
Handy first heard a stranger accompanying himself with an
other-worldly wail to the sound of the strings of his battered guitar
being scraped with a rusty knife in the middle of the night in a deserted
railway station in Mississippi. This was the first documented encounter
with the blues, predicating the birth of popular music. Up steps the pre-war
Delta country blues, the post war explosion of urban Chicago blues, the
blues revival of the sixties, through the beginnings of punk blues in
the seventies and eighties and the Mississippi Hill Blues of Fat
Possum in the nineties right up to the recent resurgence
of blues in acts such as The White Stripes, Black
Keys, Soledad Brothers etc. The artists playing
at The Spitz Festival of Blues draw on this rich provenance
as inspiration and a whole lot more to create a sound as authentic as
Mississippi mud but worn on brand new boot-heels…
"April 2006 sees the Spitz present a heady programme of vital, varied
and invigorated blues. We cast our net wide to capture all aspects of
contemporary blues, representing the urgent and bustling soul of all popular
music. A celebration of blues that is primal, blues that is punked-up,
blues that’s mutated and brutal and blues that’s just plain
beautiful. We got space dub techno blues, beat box blues, trance
blues, Medway Delta blues, Mississippi Hill Blues, Punk Rock Blues
and much, much more. In fact, we got the blues in any colour you
want as long as it’s BLUE!
"The programme features rare and unmissable performances from such
seminals as Little Axe with the original Tackhead/Sugar
Hill house band line up of Skip McDonald, Doug
Wimbish and Keith LeBlanc with Adrian
Sherwood mixing live at the controls; Wilko Johnson
- Dr Feelgood himself; Billy Childish, and the legendary
Colorado steelman Otis Taylor. Meanwhile, there’s
a younger bunch of howling, yowling talent merchants snapping at their
heels: the crunching, grooving Archie Bronson Outfit,
the human beat box machine Son
Of Dave, the larger than life Little Barrie
and the punk rock blues juggernaut of The
Black Diamond Heavies.
"The Spitz Festival of Blues 2006 puts the spotlight
on some of the most innovative and creative musicians working in the world
Son of Dave + Seasick Steve + Hillstomp
£10.00, 7pm – 12am
Of Dave (read our interview with S.O.D. here)
"Tom Waits meets John Lee Hooker during a night out in Belgium with
Killa Kella. Son of Dave brings the blues banging and howling into the
21st century. Abetted by a beat box amplified through an old Astatic mic,
this spooky acid blues don mumbles, shrieks and hollers his way through
a heavy heartful of brilliantly peculiar southern soul boogie. His oddball
mouth organ antics have earned him the attention of Planet Harmonica,
whilst his utter inventiveness has attracted fans ranging from trip-hopper
Tricky through rhythm ‘n’ blues man Jools Holland, to previous
touring chums Supergrass. Formerly of Canadian rockers Crash Test
Dummies, Son of Dave has little need for any extraneous additions to his
current one-man outfit. If he wanted backing vocals, well, he’d
‘sing high like a lady and loop that too."
(our interview with Steve here)
"Smouldering sounds from authentic delta hollerer Seasick Steve.
Having learned some very valuable lessons at the feet of Lightning Hopkins
and Son House, Seasick’s style was cultivated in the context of
a voyaging hobo lifestyle - an abiding influence on his adventuring, weather-beaten,
thoroughly thrashed up song-writing. Seasick Steve has reason to be feeling
a little green about the gills: his wayfaring way of life has led him
from playing with the Beach Boys to producing Modest Mouse, whilst his
studio in Norway features an entirely analogue desk shipped from Stax
Studios, Memphis. The latest news had it that he was off to seek out a
shack in Portugal. Tonight, however, he anchors down for an exhilarating
evening here at the Spitz."
"Appalachia infused Mississippi Hill Blues from Portland, Oregon
duo Hillstomp. They’ve played with T-Model Ford, they’ve played
R L Burnside’s sons: tonight they provide a tornado of an opening
for a storming bill brimming with leftfield blues talent."
Deltahead + Gin Palace
£6.00, 7pm – 1am
Win free tickets for this show - see news
"Travelling through time and space in a frantic ambulance, Deltahead
leave audiences across the cosmos crying out for Peace, Junk, and Drums.
Enormous bassdrums and screaming slideguitars are escorted into your eardrums
by incense and confetti. Amidst a radiogram type bass speaker emanating
Dali-esque horns, Benjamin Quigley plays a stand up bass sitting down
whilst David Tallroth wields a slide guitar. Simultaneous singing and
drumming is supplemented by erratic snatches of radio interference and,
of course, the occasional washboard."
"Eponymously hard drinking North London 3 piece. Super-stylish lady
singer, no bass, no hi-hats and no let-up. Intense, exciting, dangerous
and brief: like all things that make life worth living. Guitarist Jon
Free plays a vicious accompaniment to Meaghan Wilkie’s dirty cherub
blues vocals and these Artrocker faves are on the up: they’ve just
put the finishing touches to their contribution on the new record by Spitz
recents, Jon Spencer’s Heavy Trash."
Chatham Singers (Billy Childish) + The Surgens
£10.00, 7pm – 1am
Chatham Singers (Billy
artist, writer and resolute rabble-rouser, Billy Childish has stomped
and stamped through a terrific range of bands since forming The Pop Rivits
in 1977. Touted as an inspiration by behemoths like Kurt Cobain, Jack
White and even Madonna, Childish himself has been an avatar of everything
from thrash–folk to punk. In a rare outing away from his mainstay
band the Buff Medways, Childish tonight collaborates with his wife on
bass and with friends in tow in a return to rawer roots. Guitars twang
and mouth organs squawk whilst Billy’s fractured and fragile voice
is possessed of an effortless, un-showy power, all the more effective
for its uncommonly exposed setting. A distorted, visceral and mystical
channelling of the truly satanic roots of the blues."
"Support in the form of tequila tortured country trash and mental
escapee honkey from the Surgens. Mark Lamar loves ‘em, and they’re
likely get us all hooked too."
Little Axe + Eric Bling + Dogbreath
£17.50, 7pm – 1am
Axe (Original Tackhead line up: Skip McDonald, Doug Wimbish, Keith
LeBlanc & Adrian Sherwood)
" Little Axe is the deep blues channelled through time:
dubbed, tweaked, and sampled; processed, explored, and refreshed. As part
of the Sugarhill Gang house band alongside drummer Keith LeBlanc and bassist
Doug Wimbish, Skip MacDonald put the booty into some of the first rap
records recorded including Rappers Delight and White Lines and countless
others that would change music forever. Tonight’s gig is a spectacular
and rare opportunity to see the original Tackhead line-up together once
again with Adrian Sherwood live at the controls. With Adrian Sherwood,
Skip helped conflate the principles of hip-hop, funk and dub into an extraordinary
and exemplary template for the future. And as Little Axe, Skip pre-empted
the manipulation of early blues samples that would later propel Moby’s
‘Play’ into the mainstream. With ancient scratchy hollers
woven deep into the mix, backwards slide guitar and charges of dub bass
and drums pouring fire into the belly of each and every song, his current
work is a startling harvest of the blues’ past.
"Electro meshed with jazz then run through with blues from French
star Eric Bling. RL Burnside flirting with DJ Shadow or RZA."
"Dogbreath commence the evening with fuzz, crunch and speed-funk
Little Barrie + Tom Mansi & The Icebreakers
£8, 7pm - 12am
"Fresh from New York, recording their new album with Russell Simons
of The Blues Explosion by day and jamming with Hubert Sumlin by night,
sweetly rich acid jazz arrangements cum rootsy blues arrive in the form
of London trio Little Barrie. Let the name-drops commence: Edwyn Collins
has produced them, Johnny Marr is hoping to work with them, Morrissey
called them up at the last minute when his guitarist got sick and, well,
the lead singer is actually called Barrie. An Anglicised Beck blended
with the guitar of Nashville Sunrise era Dylan, Little Barrie stir old
jazz, soul and rock riffs into an exuberant blues stew. Little Barrie
will rock the house!
Mansi & The Icebreakers
"Inspired to take up the double bass by Charlie Mingus, and born
on the very day Mingus dies, Tom Mansi’s Jazz tinted stories are
inspired by the dark corners of the bars, clubs and theatres in which
he lives, works and plays. Trained at the Guildhall, with his blues skills
augmented with training in Cuba and incessant touring, Tom’s ‘21
cent blues’ show is music to move groove and rock you. Musical mayhem
and splendour from the intense to the delicate."
Vincent Vincent And The Villains + Urban Voodoo Machine + Mudlow
£6, 7pm – 12am
Vincent Vincent And The Villains
"Erupting onto the scene from a Bethnal Green attic is the finger-popping,
rumbling spunky rockabilly of Vincent Vincent and the Villains.
Championed by Radio 1's Zane Lowe and XFM's John Kennedy, the Villains
are the Hamburg Beatles happily scrapping with the Las. They are the prom
band who laced the punch bowl with a smooth melodious pink gin.
They are the exquisite harmonies of Dion and the Belmontes and the petulant
hiccup of Richard Hell all rolled into one riotous doo-wop. With Hofner
guitars, smart expensive shoes, and a tin fuglehorn, V V and his fellow
villains kick up a glorious punky fuss. Slick stuff."
"Shivery and superb bourbon-soaked gypsy blues from an unusual factory,
this particular machine makes blues to die to. 2005 saw them seduce many
a festival field with their smog-infused blues and smoky backstreet swagger,
with Glastonbury, Lost Vagueness and Ireland’s Electric Picnic Festival
all benefiting from a debauched murder balled or two. Snaking violins,
splendidly sullied guitar riffs and snarling lead vocals from Paul-Ronny
Angel all make for a wickedly sinister shindig."
"Rising out of the ashes of the much-admired Crawl Limbo and citing
50s American pulp crime novels as an influence, Mudlow adorn the evening
with some much accomplished malice."
Otis Taylor + Reid Paley + John Crampton + Bonebox
£10.00, 7pm – 1am
"The king of Trance Blues retired from the music business in 1977
to take time out to deal antiques and coach a pro-biking team. Chicago
born Taylor returned to the stage in 1995 and soon reinstated himself
as one of the most relevant bluesmen around. Confronting the brutalities
of racism and repression as well as the more traditional themes of murder,
infidelity and depression, the son of a socialist bebopper weaves indubitable
artistry with deep conviction. The low moan of plantation work songs,
the guttural tonalities and rhythms of the Mississippi Delta and Appalachian
mountains, the electrified urban grit of post-WWII Chicago, and the rock-solid
grooves of Detroit and Memphis: all are present. As are fragments of San
Francisco psychedelia and hints of electronica. An old-school legend simultaneously
fresh and hauntingly familiar."
"Wryly misanthropic schtick from Reid Paley, the Bill Hicks of the
blues. He’s got mischief in his eyes, Elvis in his hips, and one
hell of an unholy howl on his lips."
"John Crampton is incredible, he takes to the stage with nothing
more than a National Steel guitar, a harp and miked up stomp box and then
lets rip. Add some gravel vocals and the occasional harmonica burst and
really the man can’t be faulted."
Wilko Johnson + Clambake + The Volga Boatmen
£10.00, 7pm – 1am
"We shine the light on the legend primarily responsible for The Canvey
Island sound with Dr Feelgood and their unsung legacy. A seminal and definitive
figure: Wilko Johnson is the hidden key at the heart of many a modern
choppy telecaster. Starting out as guitarist with the Southend’s
Pigboy Charlie Band - the outfit that would later transform into the one
and only aforementioned Dr. Feelgood - Wilko Johnson has assailed many
an audience with the sheer aggressive intelligence of his playing. An
undeniable onstage presence, Canvey Island’s most famous son has
played guru to a host of punk and new wave guitarists. Himself heavily
influenced by Mick Green of the Pirates, Wilko’s scratchy, snappy
style fed directly into the sound of Andy Gill and The Gang of Four. His
influence on today’s array of jerky, punky, apparently Franz inspired
guitar bands needs no further explanation."
"Formed in Nottingham in 1995, Clambake is Andy Barker on four-string
guitar and vocals with Nick Barker on drums. Likes include Billy Childish,
the Clash, fine wine and gardening. Dislikes apparently include 'the next
big thing whatever that may be and being a pair of old fuckers who can't
drink like they used to'. Clambake play off-kilter blues that is all the
more powerful for its high volume and thrashed out brevity."
"Lean, mean and totally wired. Swamp delta riffs battered by Fugazi
hardcore from the Volga Boatmen. An excellent example of what Wilko can
Archie Bronson Outfit + Jawbone + Comanechi + Dave Cloud &
The Gospel Of Power
£8.00, 7pm - 12am
"Taking their moniker from a hardboiled 70s comic character, the
Wilshire-formed and Domino based Archie Bronson Outfit are one of the
most unique and brilliantly out-of-step British bands in years. Written
in London and recorded in Nashville, their second album ‘Derdang
Derdang’ offers a melodiously insidious showcase of noose-swinging
blues. Cross-hatched guitars and relentless counter-riffing underpin their
own particularly ragged, glorious sound. A profoundly psychedelic stomp."
"Astute and instinctive hardcore shuffles from the Peel-championed
Jawbone, aka Bob Zabor. Skuzzy guitar and raucous harmonica make up this
impressive and enticing one-man band."
"Massive, meticulously crafted riffage, raw, fuzzy power and manic
vocals and extreme drumming from this riotous, rolling London 2 piece.
Tight and flawless white art noise."
Cloud & The Gospel Of Power
"Charismatic and chaotic, Cloud's sound alternates between revved-up
garage band grind and a slack-stringed acoustic freestyle fumble. Having
played for decades before releasing his first album in 99, and a mainstay
on the Nashville scene, this is authentic blues with a seductive longevity."
In association with Balling The Jack (www.resonancefm.com):
Sandy Dillon + Paul The Girl + Abigail Hopkins
£10.00, 7pm - 12am
"The climax of a nationwide tour, the Spitz proudly welcomes Sandy
Dillon for the launch of her latest album ‘Pull The Strings’.
David Coulter - an associate director for “The Black Rider”,
a musical fable by Tom Waits, William Burroughs and Robert Wilson - produced
and played on the record using an array of instruments including a saw
and a violin. Sandy’s ability to play in a naturally free
style has been compared to Nina Simone in her hey day, with innovative
arrangements of beautifully seductive songs. Instinctively adventurous
and always ready to take a trip down pop’s more subversive side-roads,
influences on her mutated form of blues include Patti Smith and Captain
Beefheart. A set that is certain to deliver both intellect and emotion."
"Fresh from supporting Roy Harper, Paul the Girl flexes her musical
muscles with band in tow: a carnival ride of rock-cabaret-folk-pulp sex
horror. Described by David Lynch as ‘one of the more gifted
musicians to come from the UK in a month of Sundays’, Paul the Girl
offers well-written tales of hate and lust, lushly steeped in sassy black
"With smoky vocals and a bluesy yet ethereal sound, Anthony Hopkins
Jnr plays in support of her second album ‘Blue Satin Alley’.
The record sees her venture into electronica, blues and jazz. Following
several shows in the USA including a performance at the South by South-West
Festival and having played extensively around the UK, Abigail is developing
a loyal following on both sides of the Atlantic."
Black Diamond Heavies + Scott H. Biram + Honkey Finger
£8.00, 7pm – 1am
Win free tickets for this show - see news
"With a sound like a freight train derailing and songs that shake
the moonshine from your ass pocket, the Black Diamond Heavies play stripped
down raw, Delta electric blues inspired by the likes of RL Burnside and
John Lee Hooker. Famed for Pentecostal style live performances,
theirs is a peerless, primal Fat Possum groove shot through with punk
rock. Now stripped down to an economic two piece, The ‘Heavies are
now unique in being the only punk blues act made up of keys and drums
only. Having shared a stage with the Immortal Lee County Killers and Three
Shams, the Heavies now deliver their persistent, chooglin' rhythm to the
Spitz Festival of Blues."
"The self proclaimed 'Dirty Old One Man Band' of punk blues. He violently,
lashes together blues, hillbilly and country precariously to raucous punk
and godless metal. Scott H. Biram won’t die. On May 11th, 2003,
one month after being hit head-on by an 18-wheeler at 75 MPH, he took
the stage at The Continental Club in Austin, TX in a wheel chair - I.V.
still dangling from his arm. With 2 broken legs, a broken foot, a broken
arm and 1 foot less of his lower intestine, Biram unleashed his trademark
musical wrath. Years of non-stop touring have honed his assault to a fine
edge; his wide-eyed throw downs in the First Church of Ultimate Fanaticism
routinely lead giddy followers to a fiery baptism."
"One-man fuzz-tone lap-steel player from hell. Strangulated harmonica
riffs and bearded howls stomp together in a visceral cocktail of raw blues
power. Having made a blistering live debut on avant-garde radio Resonance
FM, Honkey Finger has gone on to provide prestigious support to DM Bob
and Country Jem Finer. A souped-up and stronked out opener."
all shows are available through the Spitz box-office: 020 7392 9032, mon-fri
10.30am-6pm; and online via www.wegottickets.com