This has been a busy and classic week of gigs after Fat White Family and Aldous Harding, so consequently I felt quite fatigued as I made my way to the NAC but that quickly melted away with the sight of so many familiar faces for yet another sold out gig with PRB Presents bringing a welcome return of Daddy Long Legs with local support from The Mighty Guevaras.
Some sold out gigs at the Arts Centre feel fuller than others and this one seemed particularly rammed, or maybe the bar was just especially popular with this crowd. Anyway, I sought a bit more space in the actual hall a good ten or fifteen minutes ahead of the opening set of the night from The Mighty Guevaras. It’s been a while since I saw them and I was really impressed by their sound and their set, a mix of covers and originals in a swamp blues, hill country blues style opening with an R.L. Burnside song and excitedly noting that they are on the billing at this year’s Red Rooster Festival, as is R.L. Burnside’s grandson.
It’s only about 18 months since Daddy Long Legs played the tiny Crypt at Bedfords on their previous visit to Norwich but word of mouth from that and their reputation after a couple of storming sets at Red Rooster meant they have built a sizable following in Norwich and the NAC was rammed.
They are a terrific live band and came on in fine style to a rapturous reception, opening with them all at the front of the stage, including the drummer who brough a drum to the front. There was even something of a moshpit going on pretty quickly as Daddy Long Legs steamed their way through a very hot and sweaty, characterful set of an hour and a half or so. The drums (and even the stage floor), played with maraccas and drum stick was punchy and deep, the guitar superb and the evangelical Brian Hurd, Daddy Long Legs himself, just amazing on blues harp and vocals, remarkably sometimes at the same time! The crowd adored them and the set was a good mix of old live favourites and a selection from their new album Lowdown Ways, produced by Jimmy Sutton of JD McPherson. I couldn’t resist getting a copy on white vinyl at the end of the gig. PRB Presents did it again, with another storming night and we still have Guadalupe Plata and Starcrawler yet to return this summer … both of them incredibly also played at Bedfords Crypt a couple of years ago at previous PRB nights.
“Brooklyn, NY-based trio DADDY LONG LEGS—Brian Hurd (vocals, harmonica, guitar), Murat Akturk (slide guitar), Josh Styles (drums, maraca) will make their Yep Roc Records debut May 10 with Lowdown Ways, their third studio album.
Produced by Jimmy Sutton and engineered by Alex Hall (JD McPherson, Pokey LaFarge, Jake La Botz) at Hi-Style Studios in Chicago, the album features 12 original compositions with songwriting contributions from JD McPherson and Sutton. A new direction from their first two studio albums (released by Norton Records), Lowdown Ways sees the boys widen their sonic horizons with field hollers, gospel, Cajun, and Mississippi Hill Music, coupled with their renowned supercharged, harp-driven R&B bangers.
The first single, “Mornin’ Noon & Nite,” premiered at WFMU. The track is now available at all streaming services.
Frontman Brian Hurd describes “Mornin’ Noon & Nite” as “a Hoodoo Stomper in the vein of John Lee Hooker and is about one’s pure, savage lust for his or her lover.”
When asked by Village Voice “What is DADDY LONG LEGS?,” Hurd answered, “Rock and roll salvation through the spirit of roots and blues.” While influenced by the likes of Son House, Captain Beefheart, Howlin’ Wolf, MC5, and Dr. Feelgood, their sound personifies garage rock and punk with a contemporary raw twist performed in their own brand of supercharged R&B.
Since forming in 2010, the band has released two studio albums, a live album and two 45s on Norton Records. Their last album was 2015’s DADDY LONG LEGS Rides Tonight. The band has toured with Jon Spencer, Hurray For The Riff Raff, The Sonics, Nikki Lane, Nick Waterhouse, amongst others.
Lowdown Ways is now available for pre-order. The vinyl LP arrives on limited edition opaque white vinyl.”
… and some footage I just found on YouTube:
The NAC currently has a 40/40 fundraising campaign to raise £40,000 to unlock a £499,000 grant from the Arts Council for its regeneration. You can help by donating an extra £1 when buying a ticket, or at the Arts Centre itself in one of its collection jars, or by clicking here. Or even buying a 40/40 ale at the NAC bar at a gig where £1 will go to the fundraising.