Nothing But - Dec 2005
by G.P. Throat of The Vulnerable Things
Photo by Steve Sleddon
is not Big Joe, it's top harp man Wes Weston who plays with
him. You can see what Joe looks like if you click here
to read our interview
wooden chairs, dingy lighting and beer soaked floors! I can think
of better places to be on a Friday night!
Hang on... No I can’t!
“Ain’t Nothin’ But…” Is THE place
to hear Blues in London today. It’s the perfect setting for
this genre of music.
I arrived at 6pm, the only way to guarantee a seat on a Friday night.
But the crowds don’t start arriving until around 7 O’clock.
There’s the usual eclectic mix of genuine Blues fans and numerous
Suits looking for a drink after work, sometimes I wonder what they
are expecting from the venue when they first stumble upon it, and
some of the reactions can be as entertaining as the musicians!
Big Joe arrives in the familiar understated manner associated with
the performers at A.N.B, most of the punters seemingly unaware of
who he is. But to be fair, Big Joe isn’t the archetypal Blues
artist, he looks more Bill Hayley than Bill Broonzy. He takes the
stage in a shirt which exudes cabaret, but the performance is anything
He is backed by a terrifyingly tight band comprising a solid double
bass player, a drummer with amazingly soft hands and the uniquely
talented Wes Weston on Harmonica. Weston’s playing stands
out immediately, his sound is so full, he never overplays (as is
the case with numerous Harp players) and I don’t think he
even took a breath during the opening number, effortless!
Big Joe is a soulful enough singer, he doesn’t carry the grit
of an Ian Siegal but is impressive enough. His guitar playing is
understated which is actually quite refreshing and only adds to
the feel of professionalism that this band gives out, you can really
tell that they have learnt their trade over the numerous years they
have been playing.
The atmosphere rises as the set progresses (so much so that some
fool knocks a pint of Murphys into my lap). There are shades of
Muddy Waters (not on my jeans) and definite nods towards John Lee
Hooker throughout the set, the use of Hooker style one chord riffs
being a recurring feature.
All in all this is a good entertaining Blues band who are well appreciated
by their audience. A well oiled outfit (I met Joe for a brief chat
too and he’s a top bloke too). Well worth checking out.
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