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Get Out More.............................Gig Review

JOE GIDEON & THE SHARK

27-03-2009

Joe Gideon

Steve Beauchampe has seen the future of Blues music...and it’s from Birmingham! He caught them at that fine Kings Heath venue, the Hare and Hounds.

There’s a pattern emerging here; I was attracted to this gig after seeing tonight’s headliners, sibling duo Joe Gideon and the Shark, supporting Seasick Steve at Wolverhampton Civic Hall in January (see link here) and now I find that their support act are pretty knockout too!

The Rivers Presley Set, a Birmingham two-piece consisting of some dude in cowboy boots sitting hunched over a guitar, face completely hidden behind a curtain of thoroughly unkempt blonde hair, wailing his pain into the microphone with the apparent intensity of Kurt Cobain interpreting Ledbelly, and a man mountain drummer squeezed rather uncomfortably onto a stool, thundering away in support of the feral blues riffs emanating from his companion.

OK, there’s a fair bit of this stuff around since Jack and Meg White brought the blues howling and screaming into the 21st Century (and almost all of it welcome), but on the evidence of the 20 minutes I caught of a storming set, this is on a par with the best and I want to hear more.

While a White Stripes show essentially revolves around Jack, with sister Meg providing the anchor around which he spins, with London duo Joe Gideon and the Shark (Joe’s sister Viva, both formerly with Bikini Atoll) there’s a more even distribution of labour.

Joe plays guitar, bass (sometimes both in a single song) and, being a raconteur, talks us through his surreal, oddball stories, some dark, some humourous, some both. It’s a good ploy, as he’s not got the strongest vocal delivery around (though his mild hillbilly drawl does have a somewhat quirky appeal), certainly not up to the likes of Nick Cave, P.J. Harvey or Mark E. Smith, singers with bands whom his music might perhaps be compared (indeed, the duo supported Cave last year).

When not hovering menacingly over her drumkit, arm raised waiting for the moment to pummel the skins into submission, the Shark is swivelling round to play keyboards, or programme a computer, or play the xylophone, or shake a tambourine, and often to sing, shriek and yelp with unbridled joy. Yep, she sure can multitask!

Just to ensure that we don’t miss her, this one time rhythmic gymnast (she represented Britain at the Barcelona Olympics) is festooned from neck to ankle in a one-piece leopard skin print number (Joe sports jeans and a dark shirt), and has her musical moniker drawn on the front of her drumkit.

The set is mainly culled from last year’s blues-infused Harum Scarum album with Daughter of a Looney and Civilisation finding much favour amongst the sparse crowd. But there are no real misses tonight, most songs in the 45-minute set sent prowling the room, rolling with menace around, behind and beyond us, before being re-captured and having the hell beaten out of them by the dervish-like Shark, a spindly mass of arms, legs and hair.

In comparison to what’s gone before, show closer Anything You Love That Much You Will See Again is a lullaby, but it’s not what the night will be remembered for. No, that would be the re-affirmation that nearly a century after Robert Johnson and Charlie Patten, the blues is as far from moribund as it’s ever been...and that there’s a thousand great bands playing it out there just waiting to be discovered.

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