Saturday, March 17, 2007

Jagged shards of electric guitar

It is never my intention that Join the Road become a series of gig reviews, but what can I do about these things as they happen? Music is an all-consuming passion for me. It shapes the way I think, it chooses my path in life. For better or for worse, and I never complain.
Wilko Johnson is a bona-fide guitar hero. Four decades into his career, beginning with 'seminal' (for once a use of that word with real resonance) Canvey Island R&B crew Dr. Feelgood, and still up there stronger than ever. And there I was too, been there before, knowing, needing another jolt of what Wilko provides. What only he provides.

No electronic tricks, no pedals or Pro-Tools, Wilko's guitar spits venom. His eyes piercing the gloom of the grimy room and, clad as ever in black, he sprays forth an unending stream of angular chopping stabs and sawed-off shards of notes pouring from the blackest of all Telecasters. Truly guitar as weapon. Sheer musical invective, addictive to behold. It's a purifying, almost binary noise. From hands to strings to pick-up to amp to your ears. You can feel the ching like you're playing it yourself, and you can smell the metal of the strings.

Heroes begat heroes, and Wilko's is Mick Green. The 1960s pioneer of a style where a single guitarist in a band is forced to fill the shoes of both the rhythm and lead playing. Rhythm is the rock solid basis, the lead part is the manifest excitement. Precision timing is required, all at 100mph. Couple this philosophy with Wilko's angular stage strut, once famously described as like a clockwork mouse fixed on a rail, and you have a stage performance to truly behold.

Wilko always did leave in his wake a sea of disbelief and shaking heads as people try in vain to comprehend the man's playing style. Unique and almost impossible to replicate (believe me I'm constantly trying). Your eyes seem to witness the calm rhythmic motion of a hand moving across the strings that does not, surely cannot, correspond with the sputtering, stuttering staccato aural fireworks to which you are listening.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Summer this way comes

It's definitely coming. I can feel it. I sense the spring in people's step. Perhaps that's just the effect of winter wrappings finally being banished to the back of the wardrobe for another year, but I can definitely sense something. There's a new tingle to be found in stepping out on the newly bright mornings and feeling a crisp warmth from the sunshine. A renewed excitement in another year finally getting interesting.

I say all this as a springtime justification for changing the site layout and taking the chance to add a new picture header. (Sharp eyed fans will recognise the title font!) Very professional, if I do say so myself. I've just moved to the new Blogger, and it makes all of these things so very easy to do now without scurrying through pages of html code.