Sun Sap open tonight’s Sunday night shenanigans and waste no time in kicking off a danceable, spring-reverb-loaded set of psychey garage, all six of them squeezed onto the stage, including a bass player who’s ten days out of ACL surgery, the bloody legend. The latest track of theirs released into the wild is the sunny lens flare of “Mexico”, a joyous and genuinely charming little rascal. “Leaving” has a lot more urgency and thrum to it, and inspires dancing, which by the end gets vaguely daft down the front, but this is really to be expected given how much this set has got a grooving shuffle going. They should release the special edition of the debut LP in a VW camper van, with built-in beach fire and atmospheric sunset.
The singular Jim Mitchell is formerly of Western Australia and now of Sydney, while the plural band version has been beamed in from the golden age of garage, filtered through an energetic layering of psychedelia and fuzz. “Planet Absorbed” is self-described as their “fucking big dog hit”, gets a lumpy speed increase and is, honestly, more than a little bit of a massive dog but it’s the last two songs – which seem to last well into Tuesday – which blow my damn mind.
There are needling and insistent riffs that never EVER end, there’s feedback to peel the paint off the walls, and there are basslines that just tattoo themselves into your soul… by rights, I should *hate* this sort of stuff, which so often turns into self-indulgent noodling. Instead, it’s like Mogwai going garage, and I swear I could have danced to it until my fucking legs fell off.
After all the reverb and the garage-thing tonight, comes Jesse Redwing, straight out of the Hendrix school of fuzz and hairy-chested blues. Jesse himself has also played bass in Black Zeros (and their ridic-talented singer Joe joins in onstage for a vocal guest spot tonight), but hey, yeah, he’s got some serious 70s classic blues-rock game. The voice is raw and whiskey-soaked, there are precisely 12-bars in the blues, and the distortion sounds like Free on a particularly grumpy day. It’s even a full moon over Oxford Street tonight, which makes the influence of Howlin’ Wolf that bit more appropriate.
Back in the early 00s, Franz Ferdinand famously set out to create music that girls would dance to. On the basis of tonight, we’ve moved to a place where girls no longer dance to the stomping guitars of indie, but the filthy guitars of the blues. These are licks so dirty I think I need a shower – and every damn woman in the packed venue is dancing to them.
There’s light and shade in spades here too, pacing like a well-curated DJ set – it starts a bit pumping, it slows down, it ramps it up for the new tune “Crawlin’ Up The Walls” and goes full-on solos-and-harmonicas for the finale. It’s Sunday night on Oxford Street in the autumn, but it feels like the soundtrack to a Tarantino heist movie about bikers.
The blues as they evolved in the 70s have – with hindsight – long been due a re-investigation, and this outfit have not only done their homework but added some modern cool to the whole setup. Trust me – the blues revival has kicked off. Get ready. And bring your dancing shoes.
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The Jim Mitchells