August 19th 2012
Retro-future is the art of taking sliver of the past and teleporting it into the future.
It’s the skill of zoning in on a key part of rock n roll history and expanding it out and making sense of it in these iPod times.
Once of Nottingham, Little Barrie Cadogan is a prime example of this. He is obsessed with that point of time when the British beat boom had been tripping out and was getting immersed in the blues. The time when groups like the Yardbirds were incorporating free jazz, beat boom, psych and the blues into freak show rock n roll and peering into the future before everything went wrong in the early seventies.
And they are fucking brilliant at it.
You can’t imagine Little Barrie doing anything else. He really looks the part. A skinny droog with long 1967 hair, polka dot shirt and skinny blue jeans he looks pure rock n roll and with his trio he also sounds it. The band play in the burning sunshine and ignore the festival etiquette and get lost in a world of their own. And that’s a strength. Especially when you have a guitar player this gifted.
This is world of record collecting, rock n roll professors. Lovers of the arcane and the trivial, vinyl obsessives and valve amp collectors. They know that this narrow point of time they were obsessed with is one of the key periods when rock n roll was truly free- like it was for punk, post punk or acid house or early Madchester- those points in time when the music biz was out of control and the bands took over and there were no boundaries.
This was the moment when bands threw off the constraints of beat and the top 30 and it was before it got all prog and OCD boys with guitars. This was a moment of sexy- from the hip rock n roll and music that was played by feel.
Little Barrie totally get this and they play their driving, tripped out blues brilliantly. They use the past as a starting point and fast forward to the future. The rhythm section is loose as only great players can be and Barrie is a great guitar player, tearing off blues licks and lead lines and singing with a fuck you, rock n roll sneer.
The songs are great. They have no boundaries but are not a mess. They take full advantage of the space of the trio- that most perfect of rock n roll line ups. There are drop downs and the tug and pull of great players as the band make sense of the classic form of music cranked up to 2012 like the Stone Roses do when they go off on one of their brilliant jams.
Little Barrie may also have a day job in Primal Scream but he his not treading water here. His band is mesmerising and make this rock n roll feel as alive as when it was first played all those decades ago and that takes some doing.
The set is hypnotic and the band drop down and stretch the songs out with the instinctive skill of jazzers- feeling their way round the songs instead of charging into them like a herd of amphetamines buffaloes.
Get him in the studio with Steve Albini recording and we could have a really serious piece of electric action…