Tuesday, 28 July 2009
SubVersion Stop 16: Alamo Leal + Lightnin' Willie And The Poorboys @ The Bullingdon, Oxford
Photo: Lightning Willie @ Famous Monday Blues, June 2010
Most people don't like Mondays. Who can blame them? Monday is the turnaround back to the daily grind, taking the kids to school, making plans you'll perhaps never follow through. But it's also where life in renewed and sorrows can be drowned. So arrives the Famous Monday Blues to channel your woes...
Philip Guy Davis brings a call to arms every week, and tonight it's the turn of special guest troubadour, Alamo Leal to entertain passing punters. A slow and steady, solo acoustic guitar opening lays the groundwork. With almost thirty years of international career behind him, this practiced musician shows his lust for the female sex on "The Same Thing" - "Why a man go crazy when a woman wear a dress so tight?"; stomping his feet, giving off good vibes, and the air that he is simply enjoying his life. Plucking an evergreen note on each number, he's an everyman storyteller par excellence, winging in chin-stroking metaphors - particularly "Sometimes you fly so high, you can't find a place to land", while bringing rockabilly pressure, all closely condensed chord shuffles and pinging keys that slide like projectiles from left to right.
Carrying on their crusade as headliners are Lightnin' Willie And The Poorboys. Three months on from their last visit to the club, they're on fire tonight. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink, not least when thunder is afoot. This doesn't stop the audience standing like kids in a sweet shop, eager for more rock-and-roll boogie. How lightning forms is still uncertain, but if you were to ask Lightnin' Willie, he'd probably tell you it arises from positive charges of the audience. Sassy, electrifying grooves revolve like tetris blocks over a puzzle of blues craftsmanship, as Willie insists "This is our living room, and you are your friends". Kicking off with a rags-to-riches citation, they peak at quarter to midnight with "Eyes In The Back Of My Head", harnessing stamina and top-heavy hammering from the drummer as if he's tenderizing a steak; not battering the sticks, but the impetus is there. This is a splendid showing from a big favourite of the UK blues circuit, and reason, if anything that the Famous Monday Blues should be high up on your itinerary.
Lightnin' Willie: Website
Lightnin' Willie And The Poorboys: MySpace
The Famous Monday Blues: Website