Benjamin Booker at the Water Rats
There must have been an electrical accident during one of Benjamin Booker’s gigs that broke a hole in the space time continuum back in like 1958 and zapped him to the Water Rats last night. That’s the only explanation: the blues man rocked out on stage to a show that felt way past its time in 2014. Incognito to the rest of the audience as a lost blues rock ‘n’ roller, the native from New Orleans brought his hybrid of classic rhythm and blues with a twist of punk and rock to an audience that did the twist on the dance floor, and onstage alongside him, as if they were at a 1950s high school prom.
Drunk and carefree, Booker rocked out with a Gibson E335 through a Fender amp, with some tape echo and fuzzy distortion that was grungy and muddy. Citing influences such as The Gun Club and T-Rex, as well as punk and folk, Booker creates a sonic and raw sound to call his own. His voice is reminiscent of classic blues: raspy, dirty but with a lot of soul. He kind of sounded like John Mayer and Dave Matthews, but with emphysema and a terrible smoking problem. Booker played alongside only one other member on stage: a drummer, who was flawless at keeping the rhythm and dynamics clean throughout their set.
In terms of song structure, Booker’s style is eclectic and progressive and at times hard to follow. But hey, when you’re blues man and can move a crowd as well as him, then it really doesn’t matter at all. All in all Booker is an artist who has immense talent and a gift to share with the world. Let’s hope another accident doesn’t happen, zapping him back to 1958, as we could use some more contemporary blues to grace our generation.
For further information and future events visit Benjamin Booker’s website here.
Watch the video for Violent Shiver here: