The eclectic final night (Sunday) of LBB9 this year proved once again that we can all get on, with a musical journey from northern soul to psych and everything in between. The Crossfire allnighter also welcomed 70-year-old American R&B performer, Bill Bush, who was unable to perform on the night but took a bow when his record, ‘I’m Waiting’ filled the floor in the main hall. Nutsmag editor, Scotch Martin, was Bill’s guide for the night.
Remarkably, LBB9 was my first visit to Crossfire, with my other half usually getting the ‘pass out’ for this event while I babysit. But I had a very special reason for going this time as American Hammond player, Bill Bush, was over visiting Caroline and me and wanted to drop in to see what all the fuss was about.
Also travelling with us was Cassiobury Soul Club DJ, Martin Harland, and when we arrived the bands had already started in the main hall prior to the allnighter. Two live bands appeared and fellow Glaswegians, The Beatroots, were first to take to the stage. My old friend, and extremely talented, Groovy Graham, was playing sitar, which really added another dimension. Graham and vocalist Neil were previously in Figure 5, the fantastic power pop ensemble who brushed so close to fame they could taste it. But despite appearances across Europe, festivals, gigs at the Albert Hall and Camden’s Electric Ballroom, and an American TV advert major commercial success eluded them.
If you were lucky enough to pick up their free CD, you’ll already know that those years of training has produced a highly competent, psychedelic super group that are already making swirling, shimmering waves everywhere they play.
A big buzz followed for young Dutchman, Jacco Gardner, whose elf like persona fits well with his early Floyd / Sid Barrett-style cosmic sounds. A laid back affair with songs from the new album plus the singles. We were all curious to see if he could create the well-crafted studio sounds live.
I was bowled over with the musicianship, quality and imagination of both sets and although it’s not my ‘thang’, being more of a soul fan, I thought both bands impressive and talented.
The R&B room, at first freezing, later boiling, was hosted by long-running R&B club Mousetrap and DJ’s included Roger Banks, Alberto Valle (Barcelona) and Bill Kealy (Ireland) plus residents Rob Bailey & Chris Dale. The atmosphere is all very mod, with the whole black music spectrum covered from late fifties blues and R&B to late sixties Latin, boogaloo and reggae. That was where Bill and his entourage settled initially, signing autographs and meeting people before his appearance later. It all goes on at LBB!
Bill was particularly fascinated by the energy of the pysch room, where a DJ line-up from all over Europe had belted out the rarest and wildest garage, freakbeat and psych for two nights already and said it reminded him of New Orleans in the 60s. Special guests Sunday were Irish lads Paddy & Sarge, joining Miguel Ygarza (Spain), Carlo Espero (Italy) and NUTS own Dr Robert. The last record rang out at 6.15am with the lights on and a stage full off fun seekers still looking for kicks and shouting for more.
The Crossfire allnighter has a ‘London oldies’ music policy and didn’t disappoint. Most of the tunes from Sean Chapman, Ady Croasdell, Chris Dale, Derek Mead and Roger Stewart were guaranteed floor fillers, and the crowd showed their appreciation with a packed dance floor.
At 1am Chris Dale’s prized copy of ‘I’m Waiting’ shook the floor and Sean Chapman introduced Bill Bush, who thanked the dancers for supporting his music. It turns out that, at 70, it was ‘all a bit loud’ for the guy who played with Bobby Bland, Jerry Lee and Eddy Giles amongst others back in the day – but he left having fulfilled an ambition, to watch his obscure b-side from 1965 pack a dance floor in London, England in 2013. Job done.
Thank you to Ramees Farooqi, Esther Bellepoque & Cloat Culterior for all the great photos. You can see the full LBB9 Photo Albums from Ramees Farooqi & Esther Bellepoque here and from Cloat Culterior on Facebook here. You will need to login to see them!
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