Phew! It may be cold outside in Liverpool tonight but Barrence Whitfield and The Savages raised our temperatures at tonight’s gig.
All 3 wizards were there along with chief acolyte Texas Paul. It’s got to be said that there wasn’t a huge crowd there but those lucky few who were there got way more than their money’s worth.
Barrence is a truly great frontman. He sings, he screams, he preaches, he screams some more, he growls, he grooves, he moves, he shows the ladies in the house what a real man is and then he cries. In fact he cries twice. Twice.
For various reasons far too dull to go into here, the wizards weren’t planning on doing a review of this gig. But after seeing the EFFORT! and PASSION! and SOUL! that Barrence and the boys put into the performance I thought we couldn’t let our night out go unchronicled.
A few highlights then…
- What a start!! He opened with a cover of “Bip Bop Bip” by Pretty Boy a.k.a. Don Covay. (We played that very song on Podcast number 16! give it a listen). Plenty of opportunities for Barrence to let rip with a few screams. I reckon he enjoys doing them as much as we enjoy listening! He followed that up with “The Corner Man”, probably the best known track of the last album.
- The band. They just get on with it, no frills, no nonsense, no posing, excessive soloing or general pissing about.
- The lineup is Andy Jody on drums. Whenever you see a drummer with a fairly minimal kit you know he means business. Stage right (ir is it left?) there’s Phil Lenker on bass, cool hair and very tall amp and next to him saxman Tom Quatrulli. He was playing proper old school rock’n’roll sax, the kind of sax you hear on Little Richard and Fats Domino records. Why play 10 notes when playing the same note 10 times works much better? Last and not least there was Peter Greenberg on guitar who incidentally was wearing my faovurite of the bandmembers’ shirts. Before the gig the wizards had been discussing the great Wilko Johnson and I don’t know if Peter Greenberg is a fan but there are definite similarites in style. Both play a mixture of lead and rhythm and Peter even had one of those 70s style curly guitar leads. He also must have tremendous muscles in his right hand little finger because that was flying on and off the frets as he bashed out those bar chords. By the way, Texas reckoned he looked like a younger version of ex Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Anyone still remember him?
- SOUL!! The 2 slower numbers were breathtakingly good. Here’s one of them from a gig a few years ago.
- After the first few songs, we were all shuffling our feet. In fact Rebel and Kicker busted out some proper dance moves, the likes of which are rarely seen in public spaces. As you can see from the photos at the bottom Kicker’s feet were a blur.
- Another highlight was a song about a heavyweight boxer called Willie Meehan who according to the lyrics didn’t do any training, he just ate all the time. But he still managed to knock out the champ Jack Dempsey twice. Twice! This great song was accompanied by some nice boxing moves from Barrence.
- Another cover to kick off the encores, a brilliantly sung version of Ted Taylor’s “Ramblin’ Rose” (you might know the MC5 version)
- One last aside: I mentioned the disappointingly small crowd before but apparently when chief wizard Kicker of Elves saw the late, great Jackie Leven at the same venue a few years back there was just him and Mrs Elves. The support band had been there watching but Jackie slagged them off during his gig and they slunk off .
But anyway, THANK YOU to the band for a great night and we’ll see you next time.
Barrence and his band are playing in the U.K. for another week (Birmingham, Southend, London, Guildford, Bristol) so if you live near any of those go and see them.
Barrence mentioned that there’ll be a new LP out in the New Year and another tour so keep an eye out for them bringing their show to your town. Support live music, people. Especially when it’s as great as this!
And here are Kicker’s feet in full flow. Press the arrows quickly to see them in their full frugging glory.