Betty does not tend to go for “blues artists” live in general but she made an exception for this one. Not a capacity crowd, first night of a UK tour but these guys from Manchester were the business. Support bands missed (they were good apparently) including some punk influences and the crowd that spilled out between bands were of a friendly and mixed nature: people who like music and respect other people’s music choices, or so BM experienced, in some lively discussions about “punk is blues, no blues is punk” etc…
So Federal Charm played to around 50 people but what they lacked in crowd attendance they made up for in energy, rawness and sheer tension. This was some kind of power blues, blasting out of the speakers, shades of anything from Hendrix to Kravitz to QOTSA to Rainbow (and not the TV programme) to god knows what. There were lead lines, throbbing bass, thrashing chords but also a few layers given the two guitars and one bass setup. There were riffs aplenty, belting vocals and lots of pumped up posturing. And some amazing drumfills.
These guys may never be cult or have literary pretensions but they are pretty sophisticated for the genre. BM reckons they could do well in niche audiences and venues with the right promoters – there is a bigger audience for this stuff than it looks like on the surface – as previously said, this was the first night of a pretty long tour of these lands, promoting a new, possibly second or third album “Across the Great Divide”. It was sweaty, Betty, and all the better for it. Look ’em up, not very hip but blues begat much of anyone’s musical landscape and to hear it played well, with panache and commitment, in a small venue, really floats BM’s ocean liner, or motorboat on the Thames, shouting at Bob Geldoff.
Given the date and the hour BM would like to apologise on behalf of the British people for all the crap music we have inflicted on the Europeans. The list is long:
– Simply Red – massive in Europe
– Runrig – massive in Europe
– Middle of the Road (and no, we won’t go there tonight…) – massive in Europe- could go on…
Anyway it is all over, under the terms of Brexit there will be no further cultural exchanges, so for all your Plastique Bertrands and all our Samantha Foxes (ok there is just one but you get the idea people)… silence. There will be a radio and internet virtual wall and also – expulsion from Eurovision, the ultimate cultural sanction.
I could go on… a heartfelt apology to les Frogs (can I say that?) and the rest, for 41 years of rubbish musical exports, truly sorry, but no more – we will keep our crap for ourselves – victory!