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Big Mamma's Door
Aint Nothin' But... 3rd July 2008
Review by David Atkinson
While we at BluesinLondon might make much of the more wonky or innovative blues-mongers plying their trade around this fair city, there is plenty to be said for tucking your trousers into your socks and just cramming into Ain't Nothin' But... to soak up the sweaty atmosphere. It's atmosphere that is largely generated by whatever band is making the joint jump and, like a pressure cooker, it just gets hotter and hotter in there. ANB is the only place to go and hear electric blues every night of the week in London and it is something of an institution regardless of whether you manage to get inside or not.
Big Mamma's Door packed in a notably crazy crowd last week and proceeded to roll through three sets of diverse and well chosen but not obvious tunes. How often do you hear Clarence Carter's Snatchin' It Back? Or Freddie King's superb, almost-poppy What About Love? Exactly.
I've seen Malcolm Barclay play guitar a number of times and he always impresses. Looking not unlike Mephistopheles thanks to a nifty, almost twirlable moustache, his great combination of taste, touch, and tone lift tunes out of the ordinary and imbue a solid rectitude to proceedings despite looking like he's just cutting loose and having enormous fun. When combined with the consistently great piano and organ of Joe Glossop the rhythms are blooming marvellous and the solos marvellously bloom.
Rob Porkorny helmed the drums with notable aplomb and while I might be a sucker for double basses, I must concede that there was nary enough room for 'Big' Andy Roberts to play one seeing as he took up most of the stage. He is not small.
Fiona McElroy Whipped the crazy crowd into a clamour and is enjoyably more Etta James than Janis Joplin in her approach. Her gutsy vocals were matched by playful Irish banter between numbers and she ably fronts the band and engages the crowd. Sharing a few songs with Malcolm gives BMD breadth and interest and the crowd had no choice but to enjoy things enormously. They got drunk and danced!
It can be a fine line between electric blues and rock so it is to Big Mamma's Door's credit that things never ramped up or got rocky. A lot of bands might be tempted to descend into extended jams to eat up the time but they kept swinging and mixed in some fine soulful sounds and cheeky numbers like Don't Feel My Leg.
Besides being a welcome addition to the roster at ANB they play in and around London and deserve a much wider audience. Go see for yourself!