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LIVE: Benjamin Booker - 100 Club, London


Well, well, well Benjamin Booker may have just played the gig of his musical life, so far. But to be honest, who’d have expected any less from one of the most exciting new artists around? Add to that the mercurial majesty of the ill-fated and hallowed venue of Oxford Street’s 100 Club and the night becomes a sure-fire hit and a thing of legendary status. This was the epic show we experienced last night.

The night kicked off with an admirable support slot from Feature who use their 90’s nonchalance to sell a brand of punk that isn’t often used anymore, gloriously simple chords and utterly defiant in their use of them, Feature connect in a way some bands can’t. Charmingly introduced as Bev, Len and Hev the girls have a bubblegum popping demure and effortlessly thunder through their set. So hard in fact that strings are broken but evidently not spirits as they just pick up where they left off and continue to add 3 part harmonies over thrashing rhythms.

After the furor of Feature we all settle in for the main man of the night, whom has been casually walking around the venue almost unnoticed. Booker’s ability to change from mild-mannered man of the people into a growling, gravelly rock and roll star is what makes him so instantly likeable. His humility shines through every self-deprecating song, that and his incredible talent to make a guitar sounds like an extension of his consciousness, with it he seems infallible and impervious to the beer which is soaking the stage as the crowd gear up for what will be an extra special night.

‘Always Waiting’ and ‘Slow Coming’ provide a bluesy respite as the rock and roll drums of Norton slow to an accompaniment, unlike it’s rapid and thunderous appearances on crowd favourites ‘Have You Seen My Son’ and ‘Violent Shiver’. With the latter two tracks providing the night and the venue with the smattering of alcohol, sweat and joy it deserves as the crowd eagerly danced their way into a frenzy and faced the journey home doused in lager and smiling like the Cheshire Cat.

Booker has yet again shown why his self-titled debut LP has been so critically acclaimed and devoured by his fans. What people may not yet know though, is that he is also one hell of a performer, the kind that haven’t graced the 100 club stage in years. Let’s all hope this is the beginning of a triumphant return to rock and roll for all but for Benjamin Booker it’s already begun

Jack Whatley

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