15TH May 2016
As the presenter of The Blues Magazine show on Team Rock Radio, Big Boy Bloater is known as something of an aficionado of blues and roots music. On the back of this love of R&B he launched his solo career in 2011 and has also played guitar for the likes of Paloma Faith, Imelda May and Sir Paul McCartney. It's pretty certain to say he is becoming known as a blues-man in his own right.
His music is distinctive, but it's hard to imagine this quirky brand of the blues being played in large scale venues, it's too intimate, too niche, too raw. So the iconic 100 club, Oxford Street's inconspicuous basement venue, is the ideal place for an illicit night of modern blues. Of course, all the influential riffs are there from Booker T to John Lee Hooker and Robert Johnson, but BBB and The Limits manage to throw their own spin on a 12 bar refrain like nobody else. It's not only the music which gets a makeover, the lyrics and subjects are a far cry from the usual blues fodder; here we have songs about robot girlfriends, restraining orders and monsters.
Whilst this set focusses on his acclaimed new album, Luxury Hobo, there's a few BBB back catalogue staples here such as Rocket Surgery and Double Whammy to enjoy. Even when things go Pete Tong midway through the set and a guitar string needs attention, the show doesn't stop. BBB continues to sing Messing With The Booze, making sure he's ready to roll in time for the solo (what a pro). He simply oozes roots music as he bounds through the stomping Devil's Tail and the humorous Not Cool Man with bags of swamp slide guitar.
With his obligatory pork pie hat, beaten up guitar and gravelly voice, he could almost be a genre cliché, but his music is most certainly not; it's accessible to those who are not versed with the R & B genre and familiar to those who are. It's just fun, pure and simple. He's helped along by The Limits, his stoic backing band Matt Cowley (drums) Dan Edwards (keyboards) and Steven Oates (bass) who provide the necessary southern swagger that is needed to get the club swinging.
Deacon Blue once posed the question 'can a white man sing the blues?' if you are in any doubt, stick on a copy of Luxury Hobo and I'm pretty sure you'll find you answer.