Larry Miller + support
Sat Feb 21
In the music world it can be difficult to live up to your own hype sometimes.
And in the case of Larry Miller, it would be true to say I was a little sceptical – his press pack compared him to none other than, drum roll please, a certain Jimi Hendrix.
Beginning the night, however, were north-east trio The Mentulls. They certainly grabbed our attention as keyboardist Jamie Pipe (who appeared to have taken his style tips from Christ himself) sustained a ridiculously loud chord on his Hammond organ, evoking a bizarre atmosphere like some sort of satanic sacrifice was about to take place under the Fibbers spotlights.
Frankly, they seemed to take themselves very seriously indeed, standing three feet away from each other on stage and not quite living up to their self-granted ‘mentull’ moniker.
The songs of the three be-jeaned young men were proggy to say the least. Though the organ got slightly relentless and their music was not really the sort of thing that spoke to me or my companion, it’s certainly true that some of the guitar work was impressive and they were relatively well-received by a half-full Fibbers.
Then Larry arrived. He couldn’t have looked less like Jimi Hendrix – but god, he can play guitar.
On established self-penned tracks like The Girl That Got Away, his fret work was seriously impressive, his fingers a blur as he caressed and forced note after wheedling note from the neck of his Strat, labouring and grimacing over every last lick. It was quite something to behold.
I am by no means a blues connoisseur, so personally would have preferred it slightly if his set contained more powerful, Who-y numbers as it did towards the end of the night.
But Larry and his able bassist Derek, the uber-cool Keef to his Mick, caressed the crowd into writhing, swaying dance and, from one chap at the front especially, some epileptic air guitar.
Though I’d more compare Mr Miller’s technique and presence to Stevie Ray Vaughan over Hendrix, in the end The Larry, Derek and Brian Experience put on a powerful blues show that confirmed him to be a master of his trade, if not quite a guitar-burning, gyrating behemoth à la Jimi.