LIVE REVIEW: Son of Dave, Dark Passenger @ The Green Room, Stockton (10.11.17) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Nestled mere cobbles away from its big sister, the gorgeously refurbished Georgian Theatre, The Green Room has a reputation for bringing screw-loose bluesmen to a tiny room from a tiny stage. Bob Log made people lose their minds here, James Leg soaked us in sweat, spit and whiskey. So there’s a hope that tonight might be special too.

We arrive to Dark Passenger making their debut and confessing they formed just to support Son of Dave. With the front man and guitarist straight from the ashes of Teesside band The Purnells, it would be easy to make comparisons, but apart from Stu handling a harmonica, there aren’t many to make. Dark Passenger are sleazier and much more stripped back, with a vibe somewhere between old time skiffle and bluesy jazz bars. At one point the drummer plays with his bare hands, knuckles rapping on the snare, and a guitar is swapped out for a banjo. Their final song is a great little rockabilly thing, with heavy echoes of What’s Inside a Girl by The Cramps.

When Son Of Dave takes to the stage, the usual level checks and adjustments are followed by him screaming and gesturing repeatedly at a venue volunteer to stop filming, which sours the atmosphere a little, but we’re quickly hypnotised by how much skill this man has to perform live. His craft is precise; harmonica, beat boxing and breathy vocals are looped to a layered delight.

He works hard to win the crowd back from a wobbly start, telling jokes and mixing some unique covers in with songs from his new album Music For Cop Shows and beyond. Bizarrely but effectively, he whips out a coffee table adorned with wine and nibbles and gives it to the audience, then throws instruments into the crowd to play along to his cover of Black Betty. By the end of the night’s encore we’re all yelling along to his bonkers version of Pump Up The Jam. It isn’t exactly the sweat drenched night of madman magic we hoped for, but there’s still a collective exit grin plastered on our faces.

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