Live Review: Big Boy Bloater – Glasgow

Melisa Kelly, is as equally full of life as Bloater himself. The Glaswegian Soul and Blues singer, usually performs with her band the Smokin’ Crows, but tonight it’s just her, her guitar, and her voice… and what a voice it is. Kelly’s range is incredible. At times she is singing a foot away from the mic, but her voice still fills the room. Like Bloater, she sings about modern day observations, best exemplified with the dark tale of her old neighbours; ‘Day Of The Dead’. Each song is met with a witty introduction and occasionally Kelly reminds me of another Celtic vocalist; Imelda May, not just because of her stunning voice, but also her persona. When Imelda May sings, you stop and pay attention, and it’s the same with Kelly. She also has the same wicked tongue as May, and a wild sense of humour. She mentions that she supported Bloater on an earlier tour, and years later, she was supporting him again “…and I’m still shit!”. She dedicates a stunning cover of ‘Respect’ to Aretha Franklin, describing the legend as the “original sassy bitch”. Melisa Kelly; sassy, but definitely not “shit”. After the quickest turnaround known to man, Big Boy Bloater and the LiMiTs take to the stage amidst a smattering of smoke which helps create a dark atmosphere. Swamp-like? Yeah, that was later on, dude. Current album, ‘Pills’, is a belter, and understandably the set features most of the album. Opening with the title track itself, Bloater wastes no time in connecting with the crowd. Nods to those that he recognises from previous gigs, smiles for everyone within range, the gregarious frontman is constantly making eye contact. He even takes time to point out the poor fella who is fast asleep, leaning against the wall. Drunk or just knackered from a long day? You decide, but we’ve all been there at some point. The vast majority of Bloater’s songs have the crowd chuckling at the lyrics and subject matter. ‘Slacker’s Paradise’, ‘Friday Night’s Alright For Drinking’, ‘Oops Sorry’ and the stunning ‘Saturday Night Desperation Shuffle’ all find a home amongst the crowd. Especially the latter with its introduction about how it was influenced by Bloater witnessing an over 40 single’s night. With its tale of the serial killer next door, ‘Unnaturally Charming’ goes down well, as, let’s be honest, we all know one person with whom there is something not quite right. ‘Stop Stringing Me Along’ is about the sharks within the music business, and Bloater tells how both he and Melissa Kelly have had their share of dealings with them. Breaking up the run of new material are moments like ‘Robot Girlfriend’ and the smoking hot ‘It Came Outta The Swamp’, which features an awesome guitar sound from Bloater. It’s not all played for laughs though. With Steve Oates on bass and Matt Cowley on drums and percussion, the LiMiTS are one of the tightest trios you will see today. Bloater doesn’t go with an array of guitars, he performs with just the one and when he needs to tune it he fills the space with a little bit of banter. His slide work is particularly outstanding, and there are plenty of slack-jawed moments from the guitar geeks in the crowd. My gaze keeps focussing on Cowley though. A drummer with great poise and precision who proves that not all drummers need an enormo-kit to make their presence felt. Ending on ‘This Ain’t Rufus’, Big Boy Bloater and the LiMiTs leave the stage and head to the bar/merch stand to press the flesh. There’s a great relationship between Bloater and the fans; loads of hugs as he walks through the crowd, lots of “how you doing?” as he greets them. Cult-like? maybe, but I prefer the phrase “those smart enough to get onboard the train early”. Big Boy Bloater and the LiMiTs are on tour now. All dates can be found here. More information on Melisa Kelly can be found here. Review: Dave S Images – Dave J [gallery type='flickr' user_id='132278830@N06' view='photosets' photoset_id='72157700835539454' media='photos' columns='3' tag_mode='any' sort='date-posted-desc' per_page='33' layout='square' caption='title' thumb_size='s' main_size='z' ]]]>

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