Rigid Soul got a late call to open proceedings at King Tut’s and responded with the enthusiasm of youth and a confidence born of raw talent. From the opening lick of “Floating Around” through to the superb cover of Black Sabbath’s “Wicked World” that closed their set, Kyle Hood (guitar / vocals), Lewis Ross (Drums) and Liam Brown (bass) gave a very polished performance. Everyone got a chance to impress as they aired their brand of blues rock, showing a wide range of influences from dazzling Stevie Ray Vaughan style guitar licks to “Misread’s” more jazzy John Coltrane vibe and Kyle even got the Dylan-esque moothie out for “Parchment Farm”. Rigid Soul are hoping to get their first album out later this year – definitely one to keep an ear open for.
Next up were Dixie Fried, another local band with more of a leaning towards the rockabilly and hill country blues. Comprising Craig Lamie (guitar and vocals) and John Murphy (drums) they somehow make it look easy to fill the room with sound. When there are only two in a band, each has to pull their weight, and then some. John’s versatile and dynamic drumming contributes much more than just the tempo, sometimes atmospheric ‘less is more’, sometimes rolling along like a train and when called for, bringing the gnar. His cowbell craziness on the closing number “On Shotgun” was a joy to behold. If that didn’t make you want to gallop round the venue on horseback shooting both pistols at the roof then I’m afraid there’s no hope for you. Craig seemingly effortlessly flips between skillfull picking and blues slide to wrenching visceral rock’n’roll sounds out of his guitar, like a Jockanese Seasick Steve. Standout tracks for me were “On Shotgun” and “Hats off (to the River Man)”.
A great gig was already in the bag, but nothing could have prepared the uninitiated for what was to come. My brief pre-match research had thrown up that The Inspector Cluzo are a pair of hard-touring French musicians based on a farm in Gascony who practice self-sufficiency in all aspects of their lives and work. They’ve been together since 2008, have 7 albums under their belt and don’t much care for global agricultural chemical companies or bass players. Even their names are a bit baffling: guitar and vocals are handled by Malcolm (actually called Laurent Lacrouts), and Phil (Mathieu Jourdain) beats the skins (and a little glockenspiel thing, when the need arises).
They started things off with the magnificent “A Man Outstanding in his Field”, with Malcolm stretching his vocal chords early on for some amazing falsetto parts. They then took us on an unguided whirlwind tour of their varied and accomplished oeuvre. “Little Girl and the Whistlin’ Train” could be from a Sergio Leone Western movie but mostly they defy description, rocking and preaching and belting out lyrics on a bizarre range of topics, that although obviously dear to their hearts, are delivered with a comic seriousness that never fails to entertain. The drummer got up for a sexy dance at one point – something that is sadly missing from most rock bands’ live repertoires – and during the last song they destroyed the drumkit, with Phil ending up standing on his overturned bass drum and leaning over to play the one remaining upright drum. Fabulous carnage!
Another great night at Tut’s, my only disappointment being that there were less than 100 of us sharing it. A wonderful intimate venue, three really talented bands, some unfettered French flair for fun, and all for £6. Take a gamble on a seeing a band you don’t know – what’s to lose?