I have seen the future of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and it’s definitely on its way… At some point.
In the meantime, back in the here and now, seemingly thousands upon bitchin’ thousands of rocking, rolling bands are poking their Love & Rockets style high-barnets out of the laminate-work. Even, it is said, in Lincolnshire.
Just as there are sweethearts of the rodeo, there are also darlings of the music press. At the moment, 22-20s are in said industry’s little red book. Alas, given the mad dog intensity that they take to their blooze-rock, I was disappointed to find out they were not named after a particularly putrid brand of sweetened “wine” on sale at all bad convenience stores, but after one of the many tales of gun-law that shoot through the blues, called appropriately enough, 22-20 Blues.
This isn’t austere, primal Delta-style blues though, nor the urbanised blues of the likes powered up in Memphis by Muddy Waters et al. In the USA the band have been touring with hairy shufflers Kings Of Leon, and there’s a similar “trapped in a time capsule” approach to their dynamics.
They sound like they’ve sneaked in at the Cafe Wha in 1966 and beaten Hendrix to splitting the atom of cosmic-blooze. Which is pretty strange when the band look as if they’re yet to sniff at the door of 20-something: proof, if it were required, that humanity has progressed a little further up the evolutionary scale since the musical, ahem, golden age of the mid-’80s.
Back to the band though. Hailing from Lincoln environs, the band’s songwriter, and vocalist is one Martin Trimble, who also happens to be one mean guitarist. The rest of the band aren’t bad on the “chops” front either. Throughout tonight’s set (I think I counted nine tunes) the drummer, James Irving, plays as though he has the hammers of the gods in his un-calloused hands. Somewhere, in purgatory, John Bonham is looking up and grinning malevolently.
In the confines of ULU, it’s even possible to make out some of Trimble’s well-trad lyrics, that in the anxious throats of ones so young sound as poetic and inspired as laughing Lenny Cohen‘s most literate meditations of love and life. Yep, even when it’s of the “I didn’t mean to make you sad / I didn’t make you sad” variety. Which it is.
Another plus point was that the band, tho’ they “mean it maaaan”, look like they’re having a whole lotta fun on stage. Even if Trimble’s solo encore, unaccompanied for the “I’m-actually-a-bit-sensitive” bit, sounded all a bit Soul Asylum for this correspondent, there was more than enough on show tonight to demonstrate staying power, and for long after when the vogue has inevitably passed for the new-Rock.
Word is that their mini-album is a live recording of one of their shows. While the band undoubtedly kick the proverbial donkey live, it would more interesting to hear what a good studio producer would make of the complex but muscular arrangements of Trimble’s songs over a whole CD. Also, I hope they get a better response from the crowd in that performance than they did tonight. Verily, many of those present had clearly been living most their lives living in a liggaz paradise.