REVIEW: The Water Tower Bucket Boys @ The Cluny 2
By Lee Fisher on October 5, 2012 in Music
Weird scenes at the Jumping Hot Club, as a couple of rows of chairs were arranged right along the front of the stage, and promptly occupied by some of more elderly audience.
There’s a logic to making the older crowd feel welcome, but since the Cluny 2 is pretty well served with seating off to one side, I wonder if it’s worth confronting youngish bands with a bunch of fairly old, fairly immobile people at the front when they’re onstage giving it loads (the kind of music on display tonight may hark back to a more ‘vintage’ era but it’s still a living, breathing thing and people do still want to dance).
That quibble aside, it was another cracking bill from Jumping Hot. The Tea Pad Orchestra were on great form (they’re definitely on a roll at the moment) and I can’t help feeling that if they were from Kentucky or Paris or anywhere other than Tyneside, they’d be making an even bigger impression than they already are. Just because they’re local, it would be a mistake to take them for granted – this level of invention and musicianship, this blend of disparate styles (primarily Cajun, western swing and gypsy jazz, but with hints of much more) is to be cherished.
Water Tower Bucket Boys appear to be at a transition stage, to the extent that they’re in the process of dropping the ‘Bucket Boys’ from their name. The difference seems to be that on the Bucket Boys material, the drummer plays the harmonica instead, and stylistically the Water Tower material is a little more country rock, a little less bluegrass (moving perhaps from parallels with The Black Twig Pickers to Old Crow Medicine Show, roughly).
But in either incarnation, these four young guys play like demons. The fiddler / frontman is a revelation, utterly energised, bandy legged as he saws away, looking more like an underground hip hop fan than someone clearly immersed in the high lonesome sound of the music they play. They seemed a little thrown by the aforementioned front row and worked hard to win people over with some enjoyably daft patter and some revelations about a Ween tattoo on the guitarist’s butt and by the end the crowd was theirs.
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