Jazz: Drunk in charge of a Stetson
Preacher Boy London Jazz Cafe
Tuesday 14 April 1998
Conventional wisdom holds that where mastery of technique is concerned, the American's have us Brits beaten. Preacher Boy's Brendan Rush Dance (saxophone, clarinet, flute) and Danny Uzilevsky (guitar, banjo) add considerable weight to the theory. On "Graveyard" - about getting amorous on tombstones, apparently - Rush Dance's whole body rippled as some wonderfully avant- garde phrases soared up from his diaphragm and into his sax. You could almost forgive his goatee. Similarly, Uzilevsky's banjo playing on "Rascal" was so damn cool that you could turn a blind eye when, for a moment, he seemed to forget that he wasn't playing a Czechoslovakian rock festival and tucked a cigarette behind the strings of his Telecaster's headstock.
The way that Watkins won over a crowd who had initially eyed him with a mixture of bewilderment and mild indifference was impressive. A rare example of the articulate drunk, he took lengthy pulls on his beer between songs and rambled entertainingly. Oddly, the marked slur in his speaking voice found no echo in his earthy slide guitar playing or his singing. Indeed, the more he drank the better he played, one eye shut in a boozy wince, his tongue hanging out like a panting dog's.
They closed with a cover of Robert Johnson's "They're Red Hot", which easily eclipsed that of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, followed by the deviant swing of "The Needle Got You Man", one of the stand-out tracks from their current album, Crow. The latter found Watkins musicians - the Mortuary Band - stretching themselves still further, with Uzilevsky's fluid, clean leads now more redolent of a seasoned jazzer, and Dan Andrews making an easy transition to double bass.
It's not easy to wear a Stetson in Camden and retain your credibility, but tonight Chris Watkins just about managed it.
Preacher Boy are on tour around Britain until 25 April.
Life & Style blogs
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
- 3 Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: In defence of Mesut Ozil - the Arsenal midfielder works magic in the shadows
- 4 BBC’s new Game of Thrones slayer 'The Last Kingdom' relies on Saxon appeal, creators say
- 5 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
£30000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...
£20000 - £25000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...
£25000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Progressive ...