Following a low-key, solo, acoustic opening act (courtesy of The Baby Grand – catch him at Silopanna this August) and a long wait, I was antsy for Little Barrie to begin their set at Rams Head On Stage on Tuesday night. I forgave the trio as they arrived on stage (fashionably late as all true rockers should) sporting long hair styles straight out of the 60s, and adorned in shimmering black satin and retro punk denim. The music lived up to the look.
The first song started off with a fat and funky bass line, followed by spastic, jazzed out drums, and a sizzling sampling of fuzzy, freakout guitar licks; the latter flying from the fingertips of diminutive axe wielder and singer Barrie Cadogan (hence the name Little Barrie), who often employs the “drone and mumble” vocal style popularized by bands like the Stone Roses, Oasis, and Brian Jonestown Massacre (speaking of BJM, frontman Anton Newcombe just remixed the Little Barrie song, “Realise“).
Maybe I just couldn’t hear the vocals properly over the massive wall of sound. Cadogan sounds a bit more soulful on studio cuts. Either way, it’s all good with me.
The overall sonic product is similar to Kasabian and Jet, but with a bluesy jam aspect, surrounded on all sides by heavy garage rock distortion and an ever-present aura of psychedelia. At times it veers into musical territory that I would refer to as delightfully delirious and demented surf rock.
The lucky few who witnessed this careering-but-controlled chaos had their minds melted and ears seared by blisteringly hot waves of magnificent, magmatic sludge rock. Songs jump several gears in a split second, winding down to a whisper and a lone drumbeat before exploding into a furious and unrelenting aural assault straight to the finish. I didn’t think the crowd could handle the onslaught at times, but clearly everyone enjoyed the rush just as much as me, calling for not one, but two encores.
Little Barrie knows you always leave them wanting more.
I highly recommend this band to anyone with an affinity for classic rock. They’ll be releasing a new record soon, May 27th, on Tummy Touch Records, called “Shadow.”
Check out Little Barrie’s video for “Tip It Over,” below. *Barrie Cadogan also tours as a member of Primal Scream.
– Matt Ellis