Monday night live music; forget it after working like a slave. A Tuesday night gig can be tired, oh so tiring at times. Even a Friday night shakedown can be off if the chemistry is not happening on both sides. Saturday night, well, all your tiredness has gone away, and even Lil’ Band O Gold’s jetlag on this freezing evening has been whisked away.
With a few minor technical issues, annoying mostly Pat Breaux and ‘Dickie’ Landry on sax, (sort of) cleared up early on, the band was lit up and flying. When “7 Nights To Rock” is played little more than a half-hour into any gig – fasten your seat belts.
The Factory Floor, a much smaller room than the Factory Theatre, is a gorgeous little place to get close to music and be one with the band. With a group made of up people who had had guests such as Robert Plant, Lucinda Williams and our own Tim Rogers and Jimmy Barnes singing along, you would expect more than 200 punters coming along.
Maybe it was the cold, maybe it was the economy, maybe it was just fucking pure laziness, but let me tell you, you missed one for the ages. With a band that plays Swamp Pop (or white folk playing black music as it was called in the day) we had a mix of rock and roll, country, Cajun and blues coming at us for over two hours from some very hardcore musicians. Their accomplishments are many, and worth listing in full.
Warren Storm, he of the soulful voice, the look of Al Grassby and the timing of Levon Helm on drums is the pioneer of Swamp Pop and at 75 he has the energy of a man half his age. Guitarist C.C. Adcock keeps the band together with his humour, his playing and his need for ballads; Steve Riley can sing in French, play accordion in any language and besides his stint in this Louisiana supergroup has led Steve Riley and The Mamou Playboys for the last twenty odd years.
Pat Breaux is a steam engine on that saxophone and could make a blind man see, and a one legged man dance; Richard “Dickie’ Landry (a young 73) cannot be given a one sentence description because he has played saxophone with Otis, Talking Heads, Phillip Glass (to name just a few), and walks amongst others in the art world with distinction; David Egan on keyboards has written songs for Percy Sledge, Solomon Burke and Irma Thomas. Joining them once again for their swing through the Southern Hemisphere is Lucky Oceans on pedal steel and for us here in Sydney we’ll we have to put up with the few but rare sightings of this dynamo when he leaves his burrow in Western Australia.
There were a few slower numbers, David Egan’s “Dreamer” being one the true highlights, a fabulous reading of Freddy Fenders’ “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” which took one back to the days of seeing the late, great swamp jockey Doug Sahm. It was of course, a Saturday night, and therefore really all about cutting loose.
Some Fats Domino, in the form of “Blue Monday” and “I’m In Love Again”, were enough to make the room melt; throw in the old Peppermint Harris tune “I Got Loaded”, and the room was spinning and beer was spillin’. Closing it out with a scorching number for all players to take one more solo while Warren Storm sung his heart out, was swamp pop classic “Mathilda”.
CC Adcock bid us adieu and told us all to come back tomorrow before adding his wishes to take the entire crowd back home with him. Damn, it was only a small jet load, we should have gone.
Some would have woken Sunday morning feeling bad, but it was worth it for the knowledge that Lil’ Band O Gold were on stage again in another 12 hours; heads still rattling with the joyous sounds of the night before. If Lil’ Band O Gold prove anything, it’s that there’s nothing that’s more healing – or keeps you younger – than music. That and, if there is a fountain of youth, it may well be somehwhere near Lafayette, Lousiana.
– Paul Busch