Few people knew what to expect when they entered Fibbers on Monday night. A musician going by the name of Bob Log III was due on, and various gig-goers were gathered precariously on the steps in front of the bar, giving the stage a very wide berth.
Eventually the stereo switched off and was replaced by an electric metal twanging thundering from the stage. At first nobody took any notice, but gradually people began to turn and slowly walk towards the sound, as though they were cautiously drawn by some unknown force.
A man in a human cannonball suit soon appeared from a side door, his head completely obscured by a tinted black helmet, its front welded into a telephone which seemed to wirelessly amplify his voice to the audience. Bob Log III launched into a mind-blowing set, finger-picking his beaten-up black guitar for a sound of steel string blues and heavy rock n’ roll. The sound was reminiscent of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion if it had to be categorised, but his music would be better described as Jerry Lee Lewis crossed with a little of Tom Waits’ heavy industrial sounds.
From Tucson, Arizona, Log is like a robotic junkyard Leadbelly, appearing like a machine with jutting movements and a raspy tin-can vocal. Proudly exhibiting his cheeky Southern boy persona, he at one point invited two women to sit on his knees while he played a thumping, boot-kicking sound that vibrated Delta blues and bass throughout the entire building. Log picked the guitar as effortlessly as breathing and at a speed faster than was previously thought humanly possible.
Throughout the concert an extremely drunk overweight man in a rugby shirt insisted on repeatedly hurling bizarre slurred insults at Log, contrasted by the occasional roar of encouragement. To this Log warmly exclaimed, “Alright York! You guys are a bunch of weirdos! I think I like it here..” with sincerity in his voice and delivery not unlike that of the late comedian Mitch Hedberg. He went on, “I’m gonna do for you now what we in the business like to call ‘a song’”. Upon the tune’s finale, Log pumped his fist in the air, shouting “YEAH!!”, as he did every time he finished a song, and encouraged those in the audience to do the same, which they did. Spectators who weren’t dancing were rooted to the spot, giving loud shouts and applause during the entire gig, endlessly enthusiastic in their approval. On more than one occasion the musician left the stage and moved through the crowd, without a hitch or a jump in his guitar playing nor a sign of him slowing down.
Log’s authenticity and individual style of DIY was evident through his self-made outfit, which included the word “LOG” stuck to his back in small glass squares, and also his percussion, which he kicked himself while picking. For his right foot, Log used a kick-drum, and for his left he had a cymbal, both items taped to star-shaped tambourines. Backed occasionally by intense noise from a sound system, the effect he created was powerful. Imagining the performance with the added backing of a band was almost frightening.
That said, Log’s songs, although incredible, all follow closely within the same vein, and would benefit from a little more variation. However, the performance never became boring, and Log was a great showman, making hilarious introductions to songs and creating a good rapport with the audience. The performer’s taste for “liquid applause” kept the venue laughing as many different drinks were given to him, and often had to be found by using his bright red torch, as Log could not see a thing through his steamed-up tinted helmet. “You guys like me this much of a glass”, Log proudly proclaimed, picking up a single whiskey in a plastic cup. Entry was £12, which was more than I expected for a musician I'd never heard of before, but it turned out to be well worth it.
Review by Amber King