Saturday, April 18, 2009

Review: Slim Cessna, Cameo, Legendary Tiger Man

Jello Biafra described Slim Cessna's Auto Club as "the country band that plays the bar at the end of the world." On Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label, the Denver boys sound like The Dead Kennedy's bumpkin brothers blending rockabilly, gospel, bluegrass yodeling and straight out rock n roll into the best dang knees-up since the last Appalachian Father-Daughter Hay Roll Championships.
As suggested the band is fronted by Slim Cessna – a sort of fallen Baptist turned truck-enthusiast cowboy and his sidekick Munly Munly, the skeletal, slack jawed yokel and backed by a rockabilly band of bastards that mix double bass, banjo, lapsteel, organs and rolling drums.
Possessing the old Church hall that is Paradiso's kliene zaal it felt like Beelzebub's Revival Sermon. They rumble through tunes like "Jesus Let Me Down", "Red Pirate of the Prairie", "Children of the Lord" and "This is How We Do Things in the Country". Theirs are stories of murderers, divorcees, heathens and penniless souls that engaged the audience with sadness and black comedy - if there was ever a time for depression-era melodrama its heading into another depression and entertaining the beer-swilling masses.

Sadly not enough people were watching Slim Cessna. They were all too busy in the main hall waiting for Cameo to play "Word Up" who assumedly have seen better times themselves. The great thing about the Paradiso is once you pay for one show you can move around between the halls. Their posters boasted "Word Up" to jog people's memories and no prizes for guessing it wouldn't appear until the final bow. The singer was bedazzled in a shimmering shirt, the hype-man dressed like a Funkadelic-Parliament backbencher, a guitarist wore Kiss-styled boots and rocked a hub-cap guitar, the Keyboardist smart in a blazer while the drummer was a man mountain - similar to Ice-T's drummer, Body Count era. I couldn't bring myself to stay for "Word Up", especially as something seemed a brewing back in the small hall.

Slim Cessna had made way for The Legendary Tiger Man, a one-man rhythm and blues machine with a heavy bass drum and kick snare walking through every song as he played stripped back blues on a couple of elegant old guitars. Portuguese, sunglasses still wrapped across his eyes 'cos the light was shining hard in his face (admitedly he set the lighting himself), he crunched throw mourning blues. He played originals as well as a Cramps cover and "(Get your kicks on) Route 66". Visuals were clips of old 8 and 16 mm film, most produced especially for each song - the Route 66 one especially beautiful, driving the course of the famous American road. When needed, his backing band was an old record player, helping to build an atmosphere of authentic roots rock, sparse, cool and dirty.

A good night all round.

No comments:

Post a Comment