100 Club, London
2nd August 2014
Big Sandy returns to London’s 100 Club with his Fly-Rite Boys in a night we won’t soon forget. Louder Than War’s FGV reviews.
During its long and illustrious history, I’m not sure the 100 Club has hosted a performer brimming with as much infectious, good time-inducing energy as Big Sandy. This recent gig with his Fly-Rite Boys was a rollicking night out from beginning to end.
Everything about this event at the historic Oxford Street location pointed towards August 2nd, 2014 being remembered as a legendary date by lovers of quality entertainment.
The unenviable task of warming up the crowd of suitably-attired rockabilly purists fell to the more than qualified Boz Boorer. Armed with his formidable collection of 45s, Boz filled the room with an eclectic array of rock and roll spanning genres and decades. A steady stream of punters made their way to the DJ booth to bestow good wishes on Mr Boorer. It was clear to see how enormously revered he is in these circles and this is not without merit. I’m certain I’ve never heard of anyone who lives and breathes music quite the way Boz does.
Big Joe Louis was next to impress the crowd. Regarded by many to be the leading force of southern Blues in the UK, Big Joe Louis & the Blues Kings chugged through a charged set of sultry songs accompanied by grinding hips. Early arrivers were treated to a standout performance delivered by one of the true talents of the global Blues scene. Get along to one of their residency slots soon at The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch.
For those not worn out at this stage of proceedings, it was time for Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys.
I need to be measured with this part of the review, otherwise I risk straying into adjective hell by trying to cram as many hysterical descriptive words as possible into my report of the gig. But this is what Big Sandy does to me. He is a musical force like few others.
Sandy charged out of the gate with an enthusiasm for what he was playing that was impossible to ignore. No part of this concert was second rate and every song was delivered with authentic passion by the Fly-Rite Boys. Ashley Kingman on electric guitar, Joe Perez on drums and Kevin Stewart on bass were all relentless in delivering the songs with precision and power.
Big Sandy sings like an angel taking a break from being a devil and his personality and belief in what he does on stage are undeniable. I’m sure early songs such as Hot Water were delivered with just the same level of rollicking charm on the 100 Club stage as they were over 25 years ago in their birthplace of Anaheim, California. Standout performances for me were Love That Man and Spanish Dagger taken from Big Sandy’s 2006 release, Turntable Matinee. Sandy somehow manages that rare feat of delivering a vocal dripping with sorrow while all the time flashing a cheeky grin.
If you ever find yourself in the same town as Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, you owe it to yourself to get to a show. Nobody works as hard on stage to send you home happy as Big Sandy does. Well, certainly nobody with such a gorgeous voice and convincing catalogue of rocking heartbreak and good time tunes.