fri 12/08/2022

The Bobby Lees, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham review - rock’n’roll like it should be | reviews, news & interviews

The Bobby Lees, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham review - rock’n’roll like it should be

The Bobby Lees, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham review - rock’n’roll like it should be

Screaming feedback, howling vocals and a thumping beat suggest that rock’n’roll is still very much alive

The Bobby Lees: real rock'n'roll

In a week when all kinds of people were going bonkers over an octogenarian playing songs from over 50 years ago to tens of thousands of people in a field in Somerset, it’s nice to know that rock’n’roll has not yet rolled over completely to become family friendly entertainment. In fact, if an evening with the Bobby Lees is anything to go by, it’s positively thriving – as long as you know where to look.

The Bobby Lees are a four-piece who look like mid-western farmers' kids from the USA on their first trip to the UK and, while they may not pull in the same numbers as Sir Paul McCartney CH MBE, their raw punk blues is more than enough to shake your soul. In fact, they stepped onto the stage at the Hare and Hounds without causing much of a ripple even among their own 50-or-so strong audience, plugged in without ceremony and hit the ground running with the White Stripes-like “Move”. This soon had Sam Quartin prowling the stage, microphone in hand as guitarist Nick Casa and bassist Kendall Wind let rip a tsunami of sound.

Initially, the crowd at the Hare and Hounds seemed somewhat shocked into staring at the stage, not quite sure what to do. However, they soon loosened up to the gnarly “Radiator” and a sassy cover of Richard Hell’s “Blank Generation”. These were followed by tune after tune that were some serious red meat. “Drive” had Kendall Wind going totally voodoo, as Sam Quartin preached the gospel of rock’n’roll with more than a hint of Denis Hopper’s Frank Booth from Blue Velvet in her invitation to “Come and ride with me” – not that she had much to say between the songs, letting the unhinged tunes speak for themselves. That said, the Bobby Lees’ demented take on Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man” didn’t need any explanation at all.

As the Bobby Lees’ audience got increasingly lively, the band brought out some big guns, with searing versions of some of their best tunes. “Riddle Daddy” was a gut-wrenching howl, while “Dig Your Hips” (from the recent Hollywood Junkyard EP) was a slice of perfect power pop and may yet turn out to be one of the tunes of 2022. However, these weren’t nuggets of gold within otherwise less interesting fayre. All of the Bobby Lees’ tunes were just what the rock’n’roll doctor ordered, with no exceptions – and there was plenty of good stuff left off the setlist all together. A live rock’n’roll show can be a cathartic experience and that was precisely what the Bobby Lees gave out.

Eventually things came to an end with a scorching take on the Waterboys’ “Be My Enemy” and Sam Quartin leaving no-one in any doubt what she meant as she howled “Be my enemy and I’ll be your enemy too”. Somewhat pleasingly, the band also made it clear that they had no time for ridiculous encores but merely unplugged and stepped off the stage as their sonic wind tunnel finally blew itself out. In short, the Bobby Lees’ performance in Birmingham was just the way a rock’n’roll show should be.

All of the Bobby Lees’ tunes were just what the rock’n’roll doctor ordered, with no exceptions

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters