JEFFREY LEWIS & LOS BOLTS

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  • Big Safari
  • Bad Meds
  • Carl Moorcroft
Howl At The Moon @ Buyers Club

Howl At The Moon, Vol. 11: a fitting title for this particular punk-inspired fixture. Highly respected local punk-cum-singer-songwriter CARL MOORCROFT kicks off proceedings, taking to the stage with nothing more than a lonely acoustic guitar and a dose of conviction. Moorcroft certainly doesn’t hold back, allowing his punk roots to flourish in all their glory. He frantically strums his acoustic guitar, and constantly bombards the crowd with his strong vocal range, unorthodox playing and romantic love songs.

Shortly thereafter, the ferocious BAD MEDS align into formation on the stage. A sense of anticipation and intrigue washes over the ever-expanding bustle of the audience. A certain tension surrounds the group, the kind that can only be wielded by a band such as these hard-hitting, garage-band folk. There is a crash that can only be described as a rapture. Straight from the off, Paul Rafferty and co. descend into a blur of fuzz tones, post-hardcore vocality and crashing drum swells. And like that, it’s over, with the echo of a thrashing migraine the only thing that remains.

The illustrious glam/garage outfit BIG SAFARI follow on from the might of Bad Meds as the room grows ever more humid. Their guitar amps began to rumble, and Big Safari’s refreshing swell begins to wash around the conclave of Buyers Club, revealing certain shoegaze elements that are reminiscent of Manchester’s Slowdive.

For the unacquainted, Jeffrey Lewis has released seven studio albums spanning several years and a variety of guises via the legendary and timeless record label, Rough Trade. These albums are accompanied by dozens of EPs, singles and peculiar side-projects. More recently – and perhaps more familiarly – JEFFREY LEWIS & LOS BOLTS’ record Manhattan showcased his trademark razor-sharp wit, superb songwriting ability and lo-fi pop sensibility that harks back to the likes of Pavement and Sebadoh.

A leading figurehead within the anti-folk/punk movement in New York circa 2001, Lewis, it is argued by many, was a pivotal character in the movement’s popularity. During this period Lewis acquired a rather loyal fanbase, which continues to play a huge part in his career today.

However, this show doesn’t solely revolve around the frontman. His two faithful band members, Los Bolts, are also on a parallel field, deserving of full recognition, the unsung heroes, displaying boundless energy and equally a notable substance. Everyone upon the stage is there for the right reasons; not a shred of doubt could be cast upon their commitment or drive to Lewis’ cause.

There are deep southern American roots throughout Lewis’ live set, as there are in many of his studio recordings. Particular structuring and songwriting techniques stretch back to early Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell song-telling traditions. The ole’ Delta blues with a huge influx of punk rock mentality. And if that isn’t a lesson enough for you, I don’t know what is.

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