‘Such a night….’ sang New Orleans giant of voodoo, Dr John. Indeed it was. Voice’s David Innes reports from The Blue Lamp where The Night Tripper’s fellow Crescent Citizens Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns sang, blew, rattled and Lindy-hopped their way into a packed Lampie’s hearts.
The loch that gave the street behind the Gallowgate its name is long gone, yet it seemed that a little of Lake Ponchartrain’s warm muddy waters had seeped through the antique brickwork of a beloved venue that has seen its fair share of memorable shows. This was among the best.
Sandwiched between a rousing swing opening treatment of Miss Otis Regrets and a hectic, passionate encore Hey Good Lookin’ – Hank sure never done it this way – was a mesmeric aural and visual performance of blues, swing, jazz and a dozen minor genre request stops on the way.
Meschiya’s presence is remarkable. Surrounded by a band of stellar players, all eyes are drawn to her. Yet there are no shape-throwing histrionics; her visual and vocal dominance alone fill and control the room.
She has a voice of considerable power, but it is not all gritty blues shouting, although Electric Chair Blues was a particular highlight. She croons, purrs, testifies and, in Lucky Devil, confides, ‘I am no angel, my wings have been clipped…I’d like to burn with you’. I suspect that this is what Julia Lee shows were like.
And the Little Big Horns? These are remarkable players, all seated but leader and sousaphonist Jason Jurzak, who wore his instrument like a boa constrictor, its halo-like horn offering an alternative visual attraction as it towered leviathan-like over the band, its operator blowing bottom end tones as a subterranean bedrock.
Whilst trumpet, saxophone, clarinet and acoustic guitar enmeshed as accompaniment for Meschiya, they each took regular passionate diaphragm and finger-straining solos. These are artists at the top of their game and visibly savouring every joyous moment.
Out front, Lindy Hoppers Chance Bushman and Amy Johnson jived and jitterbugged, tapped, strutted and danced what looked like sensuous-heavy variations of the tango, occasionally bringing in the singer who demonstrated that her feet are as talented as her larynx. This wasn’t a gig, it was a show, a monstrous show.
That the normal placid Aberdeen audience roared its appreciation gives measure of the reception this ensemble demanded and which seemed genuinely to astound them. Trumpeter Ben Polcer asked, in obvious bewilderment at one inter-song reception, ‘Are you ALWAYS this fired up on a Tuesday night?’ It wasn’t quite Mardi Gras, but it was Mardi, Ben.
They have promised to return. Start queuing now.