I trust my brother. We have the same music tastes (mostly). When he asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted to go see Louis Berry (https://www.facebook.com/louisberry/?fref=ts) at Joiners, I said yes immediately. At that point, I had only heard one of his songs on the Huw Stephens radio show but that was enough. If James liked him and Huw Stephens liked him, I was sure I’d be happy.
So I walked into Joiners on Tuesday night, only having heard one of Louis Berry’s songs.
James and his girlfriend Nat were waiting at the bar for me (with my traditional blackcurrant cordial at the ready). I was late. I had to walk a dog that doesn’t care if I’m on a time schedule – he has a poo only when he feels like it. Damn dog.
James thrust the blackcurrant cordial at me and told me to get into the other room to see the support band. Apparently I’d love them. Which I did. before I saw them, I could hear the aching strains of my beloved harmonica. The harmonica was accompanying a Johnny Cash cover. It was sung in a handsomely husky tone. Once I could see the band, I was treated to a man playing a box. This is one of my favourite things in a band – close to the joy a harmonica brings. The band were called Shoot the Duke (https://www.facebook.com/shoottheduke/) and despite only hearing half a song, I was sold. (Sidebar – they played again two days later at The Frog and Frigate, but I only found out too late when I was otherwise indisposed – thwarted again! Someone doesn’t want me to see my new favourite band.)
After that tease of music, we finally got to see Louis Berry and his band. Now I’m not just saying this because Louis looks like a very scary man (I wouldn’t want to have an argument with him), but I bloody love this band! Possibly in not the same way as the woman dancing / heckling / propositioning him from the dance floor beneath him. But I love them nonetheless.
From the first note, they set out their stall of frenetic, dirty beat blues, rock n roll. It was impossible to stand still. There was a lot of dancing going on in front of the stage and it was good to see that it wasn’t just pushing / shoving / moshing, but actual dancing. I managed to bust some moves, but my dance space was confined by a wall of people. Who doesn’t love a Tuesday night shimmy?
I was particularly impressed with the band’s bassist. Sure, he wielded that bass like a blues wand, but it was his stage presence that most impressed. It’s traditional for the bassist to be the moodiest band member, but this guy was taking the bass-pout to a whole other level. I doff my hat to you sir.
In spite of only having heard one song before, I enjoyed every live minute they played. Their music is right up my street: big, brash, bluesy anthems you can dance to. A song called ‘Restless’ that started a little slower was absolutely beautiful. It built up into the chorus like a rousing wall of music.
This midweek trip to my favourite place (Joiners – http://www.joinerslive.co.uk) has brought me two of my new favourite live acts. I’m rapidly running out of room on the dream festival line-up in my head. I can’t wait to see Louis Berry and Shoot the Duke again.