Another gig I was covering for Outline Magazine, this one a co-production from Punk Rock Blues and Gluttonous Mutt and an early contender for one of the gigs of the year, despite being criminally under-attended yet everyone seemed to feel part of something special and privileged. The congregation was small but enthusiastic for the swampy, dirty, gospel preacher delta blues trash of the one and only Reverend Beat-Man, with the added treat of being joined by Sister Nicole Izobel Garcia, in her nun’s outfit and expressionless at the drums and organ. She is great too. Neither of them are from the Mississippi delta though, Beat-Man – founder of Voodoo Rhythm Records – was born and raised in Bern and a neaby mountainous Swiss village, and Sister Nicole Izobel Garcia’s background is suitably shrouded in mystery but seems to involve Mexico, India, Africa and Switzerland too.
Before all of the acts we were treated to some fine vinyl 45s from the Voodoo Boogie DJs and Ravenous Hounds kicked the live music off at around 9-ish. Sounding massive and wonderfully trashy but tight through the Epic sound system they were loud and fun with strong garage songs and although the turnout from the audience wasn’t huge it was appreciative. Even though it was a Tuesday night Norwich once again had many events on, not least the first week of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Next Norwich gig for Ravenous Hounds will be Norm’s at Bedfords Crypt on 15 June, with Bag of Cans.
The big space, lack of places to sit and lack of numbers meant the audience were a bit self-conscious and clinging closely to the perimeters of the Epic room and bar between acts but as soon as Reverend Beat-Man and Sister Nicole took to the stage everyone moved closer. Within moments everybody had loosened up and was moving to the trash sounds. Beat-Man is a compelling peformer with some great tales to tell in a deep growl (there’s even some Tom Waits in there), whilst Sister Nicole at her own drumkit is the perfect foil. Expressionless and silent between songs but equally compelling, also singing a few leads in Spanish.
The set passed by all too quickly but it was an absolute treat to hear. Perhaps the space was too big and I couldn’t help imagining experiencing these sounds in some packed and sweaty, intimate underground spot. Now that would be incredible. This was still one of my most enjoyable gigs of the year thus far though. So taken was I by the spirit of the night and the music that at the end of the evening, as well as the LP, I also purchased a bottle of “Essence of Blues Trash”. As if the essence of that magic onstage is something that could be bottled … well, it seems it can and I am now a very proud owner of it. This was indeed magic.
Thanks to Outline Magazine, Gluttonous Mutt, all the acts, Rick, and Epic.
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