Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1088

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Big Boy Bloater: Black Heart, Camden, London 19/9/18

Big Boy Bloater: Black Heart, Camden, London 19/9/18 @bluesandsoul.com PHOTO: CHAZ BROOKS
Big Boy Bloater: Black Heart, Camden, London 19/9/18 @bluesandsoul.com PHOTO: CHAZ BROOKS

“Cheers everybody!” Says Big Boy Bloater, taking a swig of his pint. A larger than life character, Bloater gave the crowd at Camden’s Black Heart a memorable night with a magnificent set of good time rhythm & blues.

A splendid solo support set from Camden local Jack J. Hutchinson warmed the crowd nicely. The venue was perfect for the occasion, a black-painted back room in a typical no-frills London boozer.

The beer theme also flowed through Bloater’s material, with tracks including "Friday Night’s Alright For Drinking" and "Messing With The Booze“. "I think we’ll do a song about drinking now, well actually, about hangovers..you can call in sick tomorrow! He exclaimed. When Bloater had finished his pint and demanded another, he jokingly refused to play. Normal service was soon resumed, with music and of course...beer.

From the slow New Orleans of "I Got The Feeling Someone’s Watching Me" to the shuffle of "Saturday Night Desperation Shuffle" and the boogie-woogie of "Devils Not Angels", Bloater is equally at home across all the blues' tempos. The crowd singalong "Devils Not Angels" was inspired, all the crowd had to do was to sing “Oi” at the appropriate time and at the appropriate volume. That went on for some time and fun was had by all.

You could tell, Blues blood courses through Bloater’s veins. A master guitarist and a live-wire performer, his shows are experiences not to be missed, performing with theatrical winks and talking eyebrows. To try and describe his sound, imagine a cross between the Count Bishops’ "Good Guys Don’t Wear White", Dr Feelgood’s "Down At The Doctor"s and George Thorogood’s "It Wasn’t Me".

With his massive personality and considerable frame, it would be easy to overlook what an accomplished guitarist Bloater is, nearly every track contained a perfectly formed guitar solo, to perform that many solos over just bass and drums is no mean feat.

Touring to promote his latest album "Pills", Bloater has slimmed down the size of his band to a trio but this fact did not detract from our enjoyment. Superbly backed by drummer Matt Cowley and bassist Steven Oates, who made a huge sound, as the floor of the Black Heart pulsated to his pounding bass.

Special guest Paul-Ronney Angel from The Urban Voodoo Machine joined for a crazy version of "It Came Outta The Swamp" before disappearing backstage to drink Bloater’s rider of cans of Kronenbourg, whilst looking on as the trio played the encore of "This Ain’t Rufus".

What a night! And if you like your blues loud, fast and raucous, then Big Boy Bloater is your man. Authentic rhythm & blues couldn't be in safer hands.
Words CHAZ BROOKS

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