What is referred to as "blues music" today covers a wide range of styles that has many blues traditionalists up in arms. With elements of jazz, country, folk, gospel, rap and rock n' roll being injected into the blues, it can become rather difficult to identify the type of music you are listening to at any music venue. On Friday night at The 7th Street Entry, I experienced yet another variation on the blues when I went to see Fat Possum recording artist Bob Log III; the blending of blues elements with punk music.
Unlike many of the other Fat Possum standard bearers, R. L. Burnside, T-Model Ford, Robert Belfour, etc., Bob Log III hails from Tucson, Arizona, not what one would think of as the traditional South. Also, whereas other Fat Possum artists have developed a following that includes a mix of hardcore blues traditionalists and younger rockers with their blend of North Mississippi hill country blues or "hypno-funk," Bob Log III's audience appears to be more of the hardcore punk band enthusiast. This is despite the fact that Bob Log III's music is not so different from his label mates with lots of slide guitar, heavy drum beats and repetitive musical progressions. However, after seeing Bob Log III perform live, it became clear that the biggest difference is not in what he plays, but how he delivers it to the audience.
Following two sets by a couple of decent punk bands, the packed house of youthful music fans at The 7th Street Entry (I was, far and away, the oldest person in the house) was introduced to Bob Log III. Decked out in a blue jumpsuit with sparkling trim and his self-made helmet microphone consisting of a telephone receiver imbedded in the face shield of the silver-sparkled motorcycle helmet covering his face and head, Log looked like a visitor from another planet or, at least, Evel Knievel gone mad. With the "microphone" running into his sound system and out through what appeared to be a speaker mounted in a coffee can (also miked), Bob Log III's vocals sounded like
transmissions from an astronaut to mission control. Shifting between two electric archtop guitars through a distortion-filled amplifier and playing drum parts (bass and cymbals) with his feet, Bob Log III was truly a sight to behold.
"But what about the music?," you ask. Well, if you like some of the other artists
that I have mentioned previously, it is distinctly possible that you would also enjoy Bob Log III. With two CDs available from Fat Possum, "Trike" and "School Bus," as well as a limited edition live CD (possibly self-produced), "Live: Aloha From Japan," you have numerous options if you would like to get "Logged". At The 7th Street Entry, Bob Log III burned through a 70+ minute
show that included songs from both of his studio CDs and mirrored his live recording.
Despite the fact that I wasn't sure what to expect from Bob Log III, I have to admit that I left the show impressed by his energy and talent. Granted, the music is not for everyone (even some of the song titles could offend certain people), but the experience of a live Bob Log III show is worth the price of admission. However, love him or hate him, once you have seen Bob Log III perform, you will definitely never forget him.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.