Sunday, May 17, 2009

SEASICK STEVE/THE SUGARS


On a freezing and wet November night in Liverpool, a shitty Tuesday, I'm off to the Carling Academy to see Seasick Steve. The Carling is brimming with men, a lot of them are quite old and it stinks of man who hasn't had a girlfriend for about 10 years: guff, sweat, beer and dirty laundry. The watery pints are £3.50 and the cola tastes of fish, but I'm excited.

The support band are The Sugars, a good-looking trio, their regular drummer had broken her wrist, so I reckon they were a little bit wobblier than they'd normally be. It has got to be said that the singer has the most fantastic rock-opera voice; he even masters that beautiful Elvisy warble with tremendous panache. The songs don't come across as that strong, although the whole thing is accomplished and in parts, very good indeed, I am just not hooked. If the character Nicholas Cage plays in 'Wild at Heart' wasn't such a train wreck, he would be in The Sugars. It's trying to be sexy, which is always a mistake, most people can tell you're trying, and it's a little off-putting. They're worth watching none the less, if only for the man with the voice, in addition to which he sports a widows peak and a quiff, simultaneously, an astonishing feat.

Having The Sugars support Seasick Steve, perfectly illustrates that sex-appeal has very little to do with good looks: 67 year old Steve gets up on stage, dressed in dungarees, dirty baseball cap, a lumberjack shirt and sporting the most incredible beard, and I feel my knees go a bit wobbly. Man, this dude is hot! He opens with 'Amazing Grace' but it is largely unrecognisable, it is a dirty 12 bar blues that keeps getting out of hand and reminds me more of watching gorillas having it off on telly than God.

It is a strange audience that have come here on this inclement evening, most of them are idiots, it's got to be said; 40 something Scousers with giant chips on their shoulders, shouting inane, grammatically incorrect heckles at someone who is infinitely better than they are (which, let's face it, is neither hard, nor unusual). However, there were some nice people there too, and even some 'haircuts' have made the outing to see a sexy old man play a 3-stringed guitar. I was not alone in thinking this less-than-handsome old man was a total stud: half way through the show someone threw a red thong onto the stage. The culprit was later invited onto the stage and was sung a pretty little serenade by Steve, the girl was totally pissed though, and it was all a bit of a shitty mess, highlighted by the collapse of the 'haircut,' who was clearly overcome by either the moment or the over consumption of weed. It's difficult to tell sometimes.

Messy, sexy and strange: does it get any better? Improbable, but in this case, yes it does, you see Steve tells stories throughout the show; this is one of them:

"I've got this friend, his name is Sherman, he goes round and buys stuff at fairs: old toys, clothes, kitchenware and that. One day Sherman rings me up and says he's bought this amazing guitar; he says I really ought to come and have a look at it. So I go all the way down to Sherman's place and find this piece of shit hanging on the wall and Sherman says: "All you need is to put new strings on there and it'll be amazing." I said: "I could put 6,000 strings on this piece of shit, it ain't never going to be amazing." Then Sherman tries to charge me 75 dollars for it, even though he's already told me he paid 25 bucks for it at the fair, so I said: "Sherman, I'm going to buy this here guitar off you. I'm going to travel all round the world and play this three stringed piece of shit and I'm going to tell everyone about you. I'm going to tell them how you sold me a three stringed guitar. I'm going to tell them all about how you ripped me off. Everyone is going to know about you Sherman."

So if you don't mind, if you could all say 'We know about you Sherman!' as loud as you can, I'd very much appreciate it."

And we do, we shout it: "WE KNOW ABOUT YOU SHERMAN!"

Mia Tagg 2009®

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