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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 of Dave 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 artists:

"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 today."




Wednesday 5th April
Son of Dave + Seasick Steve + Hillstomp
£10.00, 7pm – 12am

 

Son 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."

Seasick Steve

(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."

Hillstomp
"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."

 

Thursday 6th April
Deltahead + Gin Palace

£6.00, 7pm – 1am

Win free tickets for this show - see news page

 

Deltahead
"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."

 

Gin Palace
"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."

 

Friday 7th April
Chatham Singers (Billy Childish) + The Surgens
£10.00, 7pm – 1am
 
Chatham Singers (Billy Childish)

"Musician, 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."

The Surgens
"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."

 

Saturday 8th April
Little Axe + Eric Bling + Dogbreath
£17.50, 7pm – 1am

 

Little 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.

Eric Bling
"Electro meshed with jazz then run through with blues from French star Eric Bling. RL Burnside flirting with DJ Shadow or RZA."

Dogbreath
"Dogbreath commence the evening with fuzz, crunch and speed-funk inspired spark."

 

Tuesday 11th April
Little Barrie + Tom Mansi & The Icebreakers
£8, 7pm - 12am

Little Barrie
"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!

 

 

Tom 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."

 

Wednesday 12th April
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."

 

Urban Voodoo Machine
"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."

 

Mudlow
"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."

 

Thursday 13th April
Otis Taylor + Reid Paley + John Crampton + Bonebox
£10.00, 7pm – 1am

 

Otis Taylor
"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."

Reid Paley
"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
"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."

 

Saturday 15th April
Wilko Johnson + Clambake + The Volga Boatmen
£10.00, 7pm – 1am



Wilko Johnson
"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."

Clambake
"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."

Volga Boatmen
"Lean, mean and totally wired. Swamp delta riffs battered by Fugazi hardcore from the Volga Boatmen. An excellent example of what Wilko can inspire."

 

Thursday 20th April
Archie Bronson Outfit + Jawbone + Comanechi + Dave Cloud & The Gospel Of Power
£8.00, 7pm - 12am

 

Archie Bronson Outfit
"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."

Jawbone
"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."

Comanechi
"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."

Dave 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."

 

Tuesday 25th April
In association with Balling The Jack (
www.resonancefm.com): Sandy Dillon + Paul The Girl + Abigail Hopkins
£10.00, 7pm - 12am

Sandy Dillon
"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."

 

Paul the Girl
"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 humour."

Abigail Hopkins
"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."

 

Saturday 29th April
Black Diamond Heavies + Scott H. Biram + Honkey Finger
£8.00, 7pm – 1am

Win free tickets for this show - see news page

 

Black Diamond Heavies
"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."

Scott H. Biram
"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."

Honkey Finger
"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."

More details at: www.spitz.co.uk and www.punkrockblues.co.uk

Tickets for all shows are available through the Spitz box-office: 020 7392 9032, mon-fri 10.30am-6pm; and online via www.wegottickets.com