Saturday 8th February 2014
Dr X and The Bobcats
at the The Criterion
by Keith Jobey
Saturday afternoon gigs are great to start with, so when I heard about this one, at the Criterion, I decided it was a must do – partly because of the use of home made guitars. Being a lover of guitars, I was keen to see and hear the ones on show at this gig.
It is conventional guitars to start with as The Bobcats get the afternoon music underway. Despite only appearing on the scene last year they are now well established. They feature Stu Crown on guitar and vocals, Dan Fraser-Betts on bass and Boppa on drums. Stu has a great blues voice and knows his way around the fretboard. Sporting a top hat and a wild beard he certainly stands out. With the effortless bass playing of Dan they make quite a team. Now with a drummer added to the line-up since I last saw them, they have finally taken shape.
They play a mixture of their own blues material and covers in their 30 minute slot; covers such as Pride and Joy by Stevie Ray Vaughan and You Know I Love You by Gary Moore. Enjoyable and listenable, even though it is not the sort of music I’d normally choose.
Dr X is Markus Reeves and Art Pridmore. Markus uses a selection of vintage and home made guitars while Art plays a Cajun drum and adds backing vocals using a microphone fashioned from a beer tin. And as if to not be outdone by Stu from the Bobcats, Art sports a bowler hat. The gig marks the launch of their debut EP ‘Dr X Strikes Again‘, copies of which were for sale at the gig.
They launch into their first song Rollin and the three string biscuit tin guitar sounds wonderful. Then it’s Diamond Ring, another track that features on the EP. As the set progresses, the room gets pretty busy and chatty; it’s that type of gig though, informal, entertaining, making people feel at ease and happy. There are numerous guitar changes through the 80 minute set, largely to allow tune up of the vintage guitars, but I guess it is also to do with the different sounds they make.
Markus started making his own guitars as a teenager, inspired by Mississippi bluesmen who fashioned their own instruments from whatever they could lay their hands upon. Later on in the set he uses a guitar fashioned from a picture frame, some driftwood and some other scrap items. He tells us that it used to have a fish tin attached to it also, a built in tuna he jokes! Joking aside though, it sounds so good that I’m almost inspired to try and make one. By 5pm the show ends so I purchase a copy of the EP, and head out to enjoy the evening, and rummage around the garage for some planks of wood.