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ERIC SARDINAS, Boom Boom Club, Sutton, Surrey
12 March 2010

The phrase 'he came, he saw and he conquered' was never more apt than at this all too rare London club show by the larger than life Eric Sardinas. Looking every bit the LA rock star, Eric brought with him the redoubtable Bernie Pershey on drums (Walter Trout/Eric Burdon) and the rock solid Levill Price on bass.

Playing his trusty electrified resonator, Sardinas took the stage with a swagger. Just a few extended opening cursory runs, a couple of coarse vocal lines, a quick cup of the left ear in the direction of the cheering crowd and the band exploded into the night on the back of an Elmore James style slide burst. Eric may have taken his time but sure as eggs is eggs he proceeded to electrify the whole room with a mesmerising performance that ultimately brought a deserved ovation.

ES is the kind of performer who isn't satisfied until he's wrung every last ounce of emotion from his music, every last drop of sweat from his body and teased every possible spark from some visceral slide playing and low down dirty blues (at times literally so, as he crouched down to mumble his lines into a knee high mike).

He's an intense fiery player who lives off making a connection with his audience. And encouraged by an increasingly vociferous crowd he often started with some blues intent and then took launched into some spine tingling and combustible runs that took several numbers to the edge and back. But edge is what Sardinas fans want and edge is what he gloriously delivers.

Whether singing songs about whisky as on 'Down To Whisky', or the Tex/Mex referenced 'Texola' - a wild slide affair with mesmerising licks and a thunderous back beat - or adding further mesmerising slide on Bullfrog Blues' (Rory would surely have smiled at ES's physicality on this one) Sardinas is one of the few artists who has God given ability to match his flamboyant cowboy stage presence.

He growled, he grunted and all but added a banshee wail so that his coarse singing came close to the raw gut tone that sometimes emanated from his battered Dobro. Drummer Bernard Pershey manfully filled the gaps with a succession of thunderous rolls and impeccable powerhouse time-keeping while bassist Levell Price nailed things down in between periodically reminding the audience that it was Eric Sardinas we were listening to!

ES neatly rounded things off with a tribute to the late Jeff Healey with a blistering version of The Doors 'Roadhouse Blues', by which time he was leading the crowd into a full blown sing-along.

Prior to the big finish Eric had made a couple of announcements in between several unfettered excursions on his resonator.

Firstly he thanked us twice for coming out and supporting both live music in clubs and the band in particular and later he was a shade more profound as he issued a personal mission statement with the conclusion that 'It's music that keeps it all together for me'. And having experienced this incendiary show in a club setting no one in the room was about to argue.

Support came from the Dobro playing and darkly ironic lyrics of New Yorker, The Right Rev Swifty LeZarre, a mid 1960's Dylan looking dude who combines some nifty Dobro and banjo playing with a dubious minstrel show style sincerity that neatly warmed up the crowd for the storm ahead.

Review by Pete Feenstra

Pete Feenstra talks to Eric Sardinas, 12 March 2010

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