Big Boy Bloater is a well known figure on the blues and roots scene around the world and he has made numerous TV and radio appearances. I first came across him at Ramblin’ Man in Kent back in 2017, when I caught part of his performance in the Blues Tent at that year’s festival when his big voice complimented his phenomenal guitar playing.
So, when an advert popped up on my Facebook for a live show, I looked in my diary, found nothing and thought it must be fate, so it was time to catch him again.
The sound was being controlled remotely by Adam 20 miles away and some technical issues led to a short delay in starting proceedings, but we eventually got underway with an acoustic version of ‘Looking For My Baby’ and whilst their may have been issues, his voice and acoustic guitar came over loud and clear.
He was quickly into ‘Mouse Organ’ which is all about not being a gossip and minding your own business and his brand of the blues was as good as I had remembered. Mrs Bloater was applauding in the background and big Boy was getting into his stride as he broke into ‘Leonard Cohen’ and followed this with ‘Fumble Fisted Fool’ after which his dog Tuco showed his appreciation with some barking in the background – not something you get at a live gig normally!
‘Stop Stringing Me Along’ which is all about how frustrating the music business can be was next up followed by a track from his first album ‘Big Fat Trap’.
Big Boy then paid tribute to Little Richard who recently passed away and said what a massive influence he had been on him and if the truth be known probably on so many other performers down the years.
He then slowed things down and did a cover of The Platters ‘My Prayer’ for the last of his acoustic tracks before picking up the ‘The Bloatercaster’ electric guitar to give us ‘More Than A Million’ from the ‘Loopy’ album.
He then gave us a lively version of ‘All Things Considered’ before a rip-roaring ‘Messing With The Booze’. Judging by the emojis flooding in at the end of each song the whole gig was being very well received.
The up-tempo ‘Oops Sorry’ was next up before the very popular choice of ‘It Came Outta The Swamp’. The electric guitar was then replaced by a ukulele for the final track of the evening, ‘A Life Full Of Debt’, which Big Boy managed to forget the words to at one point, before finishing in style.
The new world where gigs consist of an artist, often playing solo from their front room cannot replace the feeling of actually being at a live gig, but this was a great performance by a top notch bluesman.
Follow Big Boy Bloater: www.bigboybloater.com
Review by Howard Whitlaw for MPM