Thursday, December 11, 2014

Seasick Steve @ Zèbre de Belleville, Paris - December 11, 2014

What should have been an exceptional evening of music didn't turn out to be that exactly. Thankfully, Seasick Steve's natural storytelling abilities and his affable personality ended up saving the night.

After coming out onstage holding a bottle of Jack Daniel's, looking more like a hobo than an international touring musician, Steve announced that he had laryngitis and that he was in no shape to give us his normal performance but that those who wished to stay would hear him regale them with mostly instrumental music and stories from his turbulent life.

And for the next 90 minutes or so he did just that, telling us everything from how he got his name to anecdotes from the road, occasionally swilling from his bottle (supposedly to help his throat) and having the audience in stitches from his earthy sense of humour.

As for the music, a lot of it was just him playing his own self-made electric guitars, accompanied only by the hypnotic beat of his drummer. He didn't sing much but when he did his ovine was just the right amount of rasp and grit. His grungy, primitive blues has all the gothic intensity of some of the original delta songsters and his the relentless, rustic groove created by his rudimentary instruments only adds to the authenticity of the experience.

Against adverse circumstances, in the incongruous setting of this little cabaret and with the help of a supportive audience, Seasick Steve managed to give us a great night of generosity, kindness, humour and most importantly great music.

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