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Boom Boom Club, Sutton, Surrey, 30 October 2006

There are some gigs you wait for with fevered anticipation, and when the moment arrives it by passes you by and the sense of disappointment is palpable. Happily the opposite was the case with the Stoney Curtis band at The Boom Boom Club

Playing their 4th gig on the bounce in a very short debut UK tour, the band took their time and built the foundations of a climactic gig that had the diehards on their feet at the end of a two hour avalanche of wah wah inflected guitar feast full of colourful tones, and mangled audio brilliance.

Put simply, the band's psychedelic refracted take on the blues is accurately described by the title of their 'Acid Blues Experience' debut album on Provogue records.

I would wager that half of the audience didn't know the band before the gig started and nearly the same percentage again were hooked by the end.

Stoney Curtis himself is a tall gangling figure who slashed his guitar, slung it over his shoulder, and gently caressed it by turns, teasing out every psychedelic blues nuance whilst power house drummer and earthy vocalist Charles Glover 11 and the redoubtable funky bass of Colby Smith layed down the coolest rhythm tracks imaginable.

Yes there are undoubtedly retro UK elements here stretching from Robin Trower to Led Zeppelin and beyond, but Stoney's unique take on psychedelic rock blues is derived from his measured use of subtle tone colours and unhurried flurry of notes that seek to give expression to some of the most heartfelt lyrics in rock blues today.

Take for example, the climactic encore 'Without You' on which he built up a lyrical tension on the back of powerful chord changes, and then exploded with an avalanche of notes. For the rest there was some bruising blues rock on the opening 'Last Train To Chicago', a mesmerising take on Hendrix's 'Machine Gun' and an elongated raga style jam on which Stoney pulled out his guitar lead to tease out electrical charged high voltage sounds, that punctuated an eastern sounding tableaux.

On 'Around The World' Stoney employed a fast tempo'd staccato approach before launching into a searing guitar run.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Stoney Curtis eschewed all manner of hype and relied solely on his band's magnificent musical performance which was sparked by an enthusiastic audience. In fact this was a as good an introduction to the UK as you could possibly imagine by a band who let their music speak eloquently

Review by Pete Feenstra

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