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Thursday 3 July 2003

Borderline [spiny]

Borderline. The club in Londinium - that's where I was on Friday night - as correctly spotted by Am on a recent blog. Haven't had time to blog a report it until now. Anyway here's the spill:
On Saturday morning my ears were still ringing. That's how loud the amps were in the basement pub that is 'The Borderline', London somewhere east of my roman town home of Corinium (thats Cirencester history fans).
I was there for a rare chance to see the man-mountain that is Popa Chubby. I'm a big fan of the Blues-with-a-New-York-Twist he belts out. After posting to the ml about it and recieving no response (Am I in your kill file mat?;)) I figured I'd just hook up with a few country mice & hit the smoke. So an early afternoon off work me & the lads rolled into town in Phil's capacious ford galaxy. A vehicle that was designed to carry beer if ever I saw one.
After short taxi ride & we arrived at the Borderline, a basement pub with a bag of atmosphere. Olde pub style oak beams, whitewashed walls, low ceiling. After ordering the first round I picked myself up off the floor (how can you live in a town that charges *that* much for beer?;)) and kicked back to listen to the support band. The band were actually not half bad. They were about 99% bad :) A drummer who couldn't keep time and a singer somewhere south of apalling. Shrug.
9pm sees a recording come over the PA. It's what I can only describe as a tune that resembles the chipmunks on acid playing country & western. For entrance music Popa sure has a sense of humour :) The big man himself follows shortly. My, he IS big. I hate to say this but he looks like he could even eat Am under the table. The guitar looks like a botempti toy slung over his gargantuan frame. Any illusion about the toy/guitar theory is quickly dispelled as he belts out the first number.
From memory, this was 'Daddy Played The Guitar And Mommy Was A Disco Queen', the qualification there is because this was the start of over a two hour set, played virtually non stop. Not a weak song or bum note in the whole 7200 seconds. This man 0wned the small audience crammed into the basement of the borderline for the duration. He took the blues, mixed in some hendrix, stevie-ray, gary moore, & buddy guy influences stirred it up & rammed it down our throats. He may have as well shouted 'THIS IS THE BLUES MOTHERFUCKERS! THIS IS HOW WE DO IT IN NY CITY!!!'. In fact I'm not entirely sure he didn't :) Popped into the mix was a cover of Hendrix's 'Hey Joe', which one of my friends described as the second best live version he'd ever heard. Now he's been around a while and knows his stuff. I didn't ask but I think he meant Hendrix's version.
Without a weak song in the set, it's difficult to pick highlights. It's one of the best blues (or non blues infact) gig's I've been to. The live extensions to the songs blended effortlessly without becoming weary tacked on guitar solos and highlighting just how short some other performers like Robert Cray can fall (technically brilliant but what's the point if you you can't tell your show from the cd?). At one point he even took over drumming duties proving he was no slouch there either. Biggest laugh of the evening was had mid song when he missed a chorus so the audience could chip in. As usual the first response was a bit weak, to which he retorted 'What are you? FRENCH!?' heh.
OK, here's the deal. For some of you London lot I'd recommend jumping on the chunnel & checking out one of the dates in nothern France

1 comment:

  1. The Borderline is indeed an ace venue, was there on Saturday night to see White Buffalo. Like your night the support was pretty dire, but WB absolutely rocked the house, well they rocked those that turned up anyway! :) It is fucking loud in there, which is no bad thing and the atmosphere is great. Really glad to see the old style 'give anyone a chance to shine' type venues still exist. It'll be a regular haunt for me and my bro for sure.