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Review: 6FOOT3 Reunion gig

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At The Duke, Whitstable, 27 March 2014

Jake: We're putting the band back together
Mr Fabulous: Forget it, no way
Elwood: We're on a mission from God

Now whether, like The Blues BrothersSteve Bolton received his inspiration 
from a divine source or not I can't say, but there may have been some
dazzling light when he thought "What a hoot to reform for a one-off
weekend of gigs about the trio that he'd been an integral part of twenty
years ago.

The guitar slinger's vision became a reality at 6FOOT3's opening gig at The
Duke, with others to be held in London.

This event was like listening to a conversation in music that was continuing 
from the moment two decades previously when life with it's other plans had
interrupted it, and the band's pleasure in this enterprise was infectious, as
they launched into their first number, I Spy (Middle Eye).

With Steve Bolton on guitar  and  singing his self written songs, Jim
Kimberley from the well respected band, Bruise, drums  and  vocal, and his 
brother Bob Kimberley on bass, this was a different form of music from that
which many of us had known and loved from Steve before, however a good
crowd of Whitstable musos were rewarded for having trudged through a
cold  and wet  night by an abundance of Steve's unleashed and improvised
liquid soloing. 

Meanwhile the thunderous rhythm section of the Kimberley brothers not
only played their instruments but also reverberated through the
floorboards, the furniture, and the audience's internal organs ... sitting 
close to this band was a mighty physical experience, as the 'dub' frequency  and intricately patterned rumblings from Bob Kimberley's bass combined 
with Jim Kimberley's tour de force drumming to revelatory effect. 

Upon seeing the tall (yes, really 6 foot 3 !) distinctive musicians on the
street all those years ago "a little old lady" had asked "Are you from outer
space ?"... perhaps so, as they appeared this time around to be bringing
Strange newsfrom another star, lyrically and musically warping time, as they
produced those special dynamics of sound that only a trio in such sympatico
mode as this can evoke. 

This was music that defied categorization, although it was interesting to
 try ... 'Rockadub Acid 'n'Funk'? ... 'Raga delic Cascading Wave music' ...
no, can't do it, but no matter because something indefinable on a thursday 
night is very welcome.

Steve's songs constitute nearly the entirety of their set, and their lyrics
inhabit a place of 'otherness' describing Astral journeys where "Vibrations
knock me out" (The Weatherman), and being "kissed by souls unknown"
(Souls  Unknown) and many other esoteric nuggets all contribute to an 
inner travelogue ... it'll be intriguing to hear more episodes from  his 
dream  trajectory.

There were echoes of George Harrison's 'Blue Jay Way' that I think George 
would have approved of on Supernatural State with it's plaintive refrain 
"Please be kind"; other intimations of The Beatles at their most psychedelic
ran like cross currents beneath the swift flow of these hard rocking and yet
introspective songs. The affecting Souls Unknown was followed by an 
outstanding version of Dr John's I Walk On Gilded Splinters complete with 
the 'voodoo vibe' that stunning song with its descriptions of potent magic requires ...

Steve found a deeper register and intonation for his vocal which was 
entirely appropriate, palpably rendering it's mysterious ceremony of 
darkness ... as he'd said earlier, "You have to live it" Another terrific original
song was Does She Know She's There from a set that only contained two 
albeit great 'covers', and by this time immense waves of sound ... vigorous, rocking  and  rhythmic, challenging and cerebral, were rolling,
the ship was in full sail, so it was only sensible to tie ourselves to the 
mast, secure in the knowledge that the hands on the tiller (or more 
specifically the Stratocaster) would steer the ship as it rode the peaks
safely back to shore. 

Shaken and stirred we were then suddenly in flight, soaring Over The Moon
which was 6foot3's penultimate number before their powerhouse
interpretation of Scott Walker's Jackie, and it was fitting indeed that a song
written by a fellow maverick of music should provide the night's finale.

That the substantial audience consisted of mainly local enthusiasts was
testimony that authentic Whitstable music lovers remain keen to show up
for music which is more demanding than the bland and predictable, which
is beginning to be increasingly dished out in some quarters. 

It was also a timely reminder that we are more than lucky to have Steve
Bolton in our midst ... a great showman, (or should that be shaman?) and
a consummate musician who is willing to take chances with diverse music
ventures in order to deliver this degree of commitment and intensity ...
today sounds from another time were reprised to powerful effect, as my music guru Derek said ... "Fantastic! ... a real gig!"...   tomorrow, well who
knows? but expect the unexpected, and when it happens we'll all be there.

Submitted by Nigel


6FOOT3 live at the Duke, Deptford Creek

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Last Modified: 17 March 2017