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Little Barrie at Santos Party House

Little Barrie at Santos Party House
Mike Perciaccante By

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Little Barrie
Santos Party House
New York, NY
May 8, 2014

Little Barrie is a British blues-based power trio formed in Nottingham in 1999. Its music is an amalgamation of blues, psychedelia, garage rock, pop, soul, funk and good old fashioned rock 'n' roll with a bit of a jamband mentality. The original band featuring Barrie Cadogan (guitar, lead vocals), Wayne Fulwood (drums, vocals), and Lewis Wharton (bass) released a few independent singles before its Edwyn Collins-produced debut album We Are Little Barrie (Artemis Records) was released in 2005. Prior to recording its sophomore release, Stand Your Ground (Play It Again Sam/Relativity, 2007), Fulwood left the band. He was replaced on the recording by Russell Simins (of Blues Explosion) and new drummer Billy Skinner. In 2008, Virgil Howe (son of Yes guitarist Steve Howe) joined the band on drums. The band's third CD King Of The Waves was released on Tummy Touch Records in 2011.

During the past nine years, Little Barrie has made a name for itself by delivering riff-filled, genre-blending roots rock, powered by Cadogan's expressive guitar work and a heavy rhythm section anchored by Wharton's bass, which maintains the pulse/groove of the music, and Howe's driving backbeat. Though the group has tasted success and received critical acclaim in Europe, Japan, and Australia, it has not yet achieved similar accolades in the States.

Little Barrie recently embarked on a short United States press tour preceding the stateside release of its fourth album, Shadow (Tummy Touch Records, 2014). On a cool evening in early May, the band touched down at New York City's Santos Party House and from the opening burst of Cadogan's guitar, it was apparent Little Barrie had set out to earn its place among the elite blues/roots rockers.

With the smoke machines billowing, the small Andrew WK-owned club was engulfed in a feedback drenched sonic assault that began with "Bonneville," continued through the appropriately named "Fuzz Bomb," and the staccato intro of "Tip It Over."

The diminutive Cadogan is one of the new breed of guitar virtuosos. He may be somewhat short in stature (hence the name Little Barrie), but he stands tall as a burgeoning guitar master. The minute he strapped on his guitar, he became the tour director taking his band and the audience on a psychedelic rollercoaster ride replete with whirling dervish spins and reverb, frenzied riffs, wah-wah, staccato bursts and bleats of tasty guitar licks. But he is not alone. His bandmates Howe and Wharton helped signal time changes by alternately speeding up the beat with frenzied breaks and rumbling basslines that give the music both character and a unique sound not heard anywhere else.

The band's tight ten-song main set (which included six tracks from Shadow) had the audience on its feet, dancing and moving from the very beginning. The final two songs were "New Diamond" which featured bassist Wharton's "new diamond love" chant and the garage-surf groove of "Surf Hell" (from King Of The Waves) before which Cadogan took a moment to thank the crowd and mention that this was "the last gig in the states before we go back home."

After a very short moment off stage, Little Barrie returned to again wow the crowd with two driving encores: "Black Mind" and the surfer-meets-rockabilly shuffle of "I Can't Wait."

Little Barrie's brand of rock is so very original, yet so very familiar. This band has managed to deliver elements from its influences in a way that forces the listener to not only take notice, but to mentally list those influences—Link Wray, the MC5, the energy and ferocity of the very early Jam, Moby Grape, the raw and early Rolling Stones sound, Cream, Jimi Hendrix and many more. These guys have made this fusion of styles all their own. This, clearly, is a band to be reckoned with.

Photo Credit
Christine Connallon (view more concert photos)
[Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon].

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