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Son of Dave
The Elbow Rooms, Islington - Jan 2006

Reviewed by Jim Ryan of The Vulnerable Things
Photo by Sian Eldridge

  Don't touch that dial! Mr. Of Dave loops the loop.

The Elbow Rooms in Islington usually hosts nights dedicated to indie/rock bands, however tonight it felt more like a late-night jam at a notorious juke joint off Highway 4 in Chulahoma, Mississippi. This was thanks to the amazing talents of Canadian Bluesman Son of Dave and the excellent night run by Goldierocks.

Son of Dave comprises of just one man, Ben Darvill who in a previous life was in chart-topping rock group the Crash Test Dummies. But, right from the start you can hear that he was brought up on the blues and this is sweet devil music for sure! The only accompaniment he has on stage is his trusty harmonicas, a shaker and a tambourine (oh and of course his loop pedals). Yet, he manages to produce the sound of a whole band, enough to think that the Blues Explosions rhythm section will soon emerge from the back of the stage.

Son of Dave beat-boxes, howls and moans through his loop pedal to produce his rhythms. You can hear the obvious Chicago blues influences, here. Although a very fine harmonica player he has the ability to move away from playing the instrument in a conventional style, creating his own unique sound.

With his beat-boxing he may not be one for the blues purest, but he appeals to a real cross section of listener (at 25 I was probably one of the oldest members of the crowd that night)! If blues music is going to survive, long into the 21st century, this is one man (and his harmonica) dragging it in the right direction.

Son of Dave is progressive and real good time music, there wasn't a single person not gettin' down to his performance. Make sure you catch him live soon. With the release of a new album in February, you shouldn't have long to wait.

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