Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Killer B's + Sid Sings + Horse Face: Live at The Half Moon Putney, London May 09th

Chris Thompson of Killer B's and Horse Face - Photo by Steve Worrall
This was a real treat for me as I have been a huge Screaming Blue Messiahs fan ever since their raw full-on rock and rhythm and blues rescued me from that terrible, bleak musical wasteland of the late 80's early 90's. The Messiahs and The Godfathers were just two of the very few bands at the time getting out there and burning it up for us lovers of primal guitar music, so I will always be grateful! Tonight, I got the chance to see two thirds of the Screaming Blue Messiahs play together live again for the first time in many years. Original Messiahs rhythm section, bassist Chris Thompson and drummer Kenny Harris have reunited under the name Horse Face, with Chris taking over on guitar and vocals. Although usually augmented by a double-bass player, tonight they played as a two-piece and blasted out some impressive blues. It was particularly great to hear Kenny's superb drumming again. You can check out some Horse Face songs at their Soundcloud page.

Chris Thompson and Kenny Harris of Horse Face - by Steve Worrall
Kenny Harris of Horse Face - by Steve Worrall
Sid Sings were a revelation live. I'd been blown away by their track "Caught In Black" and went out and snapped up their great full length debut album "Notes From Underground" and the mini-album "Make Me Howl" and was really keen to see them. Playing tonight as a three piece with the excellent drummer Dan Peranic (excellent drummers being a recurring theme throughout the evening actually...), Sid Sings didn't disappoint, hitting their stride immediately with the storming "Death Rattle Boogie", the band were on fire from the off. Singer Nikki Brooks and guitarist Sandy Michie are a live-wire duo up front and although at first it's easy to see the glamorous Nikki as the main focal point, she is after all quite stunning, they are very much a double act.

Sid Sings - Photo by Steve Worrall
Sandy throws himself and his guitar around the stage. Bending and contorting his body as he does the guitar strings, he's really channelling the music into the performance and it's great to watch. Nikki clutches her mic stand, swaying along to the beat and swirling her hair as she delivers her superb vocals. She has a great distinctive voice and the way she switches to sultry French for the verses of "Caught In Black" is really something special. They only play a couple of tracks from "Notes From The Underground" tonight, but they do plough through all of the near faultless "Make Me Howl". Sid Sings also slip in a great mash-up cover version of The White Stripes "Seven Nation Army" and Dusty Springfield's "Anyone Who Had a Heart", it's very clever and works really well. Their brand of Blues has a nice bit of power and a Garage Rock rawness to it and I thoroughly enjoyed the set. Nikki has her own radio show "House Rent Boogie" on Resonance 104.4FM and a great Blog to go along with it. She recently did a show with Rob Symmons from The Fallen Leaves which is definitely well worth a listen.

Nikki from Sid Sings - Photo Steve Worrall
Sid Sings - Photo by Steve Worrall
A quick change of hat and Chris Thompson takes to the stage for the second time tonight with his main band The Killer B's, who proceeded to play a storming selection of their own special brand of kicking killer Blues. I wasn't familiar with a fair chunk of the set, which featured only a few songs from their excellent Pat Collier produced Track Records released debut album "Love Is a Cadillac Death Is a Ford". Chris is joined in the Killer B's by another top drummer, Dave Morgan and yes, there is a bassist in the house, the dapper Ricky McGuire, once of The Men They Couldn't Hang. The Killer B's are not your average Rhythm & Blues band, they are certainly pretty far removed from straight forward R&B boogie, there is a darker undercurrent with an edge that elevates the band to another level. Sometimes it's in the dark humour of "Low Watt Light" and other times it's the occasionally unsettling and challenging chord changes and tangents that they spring on you. Captain Beefheart and Zappa are probably as much an influence as the more traditional Blues names. "Head Hive & The Honey" is a slow burning classic with some amazing slide guitar work from Chris. The band end a great show with "You Bug Me" and a really excellent night of music draws to a close. The Killer B's have a great web-site with some cool graphics that's well worth checking out here.

The Killer B's - All Photos above by Steve Worrall
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Here's a little bonus - a video of Sid Sings taken from the Retro Man Blog "YouTube Channel:

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