Seasick Steve - The Blues hound plays The Downs

September 2nd 2017
Bristol, Clifton Downs (The Downs Festival), UK


Bobbing along with Steve

Seasick Steve is an American singer, songwriter and blues guitarist and at the ripe old age of seventy six he is still performing to massive crows across the world, tonight being the main support to Elbow at the Bristol Downs festival. Despite being a musician for many years, including busking on the Paris Metro it was an English institution, ‘Jools Holland’s Hootenanny 2006’, the annual music show broadcast on New Year’s Eve that really gave him his break and he has never looked back.

Now over ten years later from that defining TV moment Seasick Steve takes the stage in his long white beard along with his similarly hirsute drummer. With their look, both should have plenty of work around Christmas even if there are aren’t any gigs on. But that is it, no backing band or keyboard samples just two blokes on a very big stage and lots of people in front of it that need entertaining.

With a couple of old timers on stage and a guitar held together by string, it looks more like this gig should be in the back of a barn somewhere in the Midwest US rather than in front of thousands of people next to the Avon Gorge but he has his cult following now and they are wild for him. Chants of "Steve – O" fill the air even when he asks them to stop seemingly being embarrassed by it all. If you have not seen him, all his guitars seem to be home made with the second one seemingly made of a cigar box and later we get a banjo made out of a hubcap.

Musically it is pretty upbeat Blues, but I do wonder a but if it is all a bit of an act, but I guess that is what performing is about. Does it matter that he does not need to use cobbled together instruments!!! but that’s who he is and, and he is no different than other acts that wears costumes etc, this might not be needed but all part of the show. A show that is being held in high regards given the crowd too. After a while I found the songs did get a bit samey and an hours set was about right, a full headline would have dragged a bit I think. But if you want blues played by someone who looks a bit like Uncle Albert, Seasick Steve is your man. 

Review by Jon Cooper and Photo's by Steve Owen (Icarus Photography) 

Check Out! the Video for 'Summertime Boy​' Below...



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