Fresh from their appearance at stoner rock fest Roadburn in Tilburg, Holland (remember The Heads live ‘Tilburg’ album? Yup – that’s the place), Paul Major and chums hit London for a brief smash and grab raid last Monday at Elephant and Castle’s Corsica Studios.
This is hardly the most glamorous part of the capital, with dirty streets, shady characters lurking in the underpass and an unexpected hunt for the venue which led us under the railway arches behind the station. To our delight we found the great man himself, Paul Major, standing outside the place having a smoke. Anyone familiar with Endless Boogie’s music might have found the presence of underground rock’s number 1 gravel gargling vocalist daunting but Paul was anything but and chatted away merrily outside and couldn’t have been nicer. The evening had a good vibe about it already.
By the time Endless Boogie take the stage a good sized crowd was well up for some funked-up boogied-down guitar noise. Which is precisely what we got. There can be few bands more perfectly named than these guys. Opening track The Savagist from what is already a contender for album of the year, the mighty ‘Long Island’, stretches to well over 20 minutes. It’s The Stooges ‘Down On The Street’ riff ruffled up and rotated while various degrees of heaviness, fuzz and textures are worked through it and works a treat. Paul Major looks like a revamped Dave Wyndorf meets Dave Brock (the music isn’t a million miles away from that at times too) and makes an impressive figure with a mane that must have taken him many years to grow, long fringe covering his eyes which, at the age of 59, still possess a wicked twinkle that accompanies his throaty growl in impressive fashion. He howls into the mic, at times it’s incoherent ramblings, at other times he’s wailing about stuff in his bed, all the time with a steady rolling buzz behind him to back up his considerable lung power. The basic Boogie formula is used time and again, but it’s totally irresistible so as soon as one track finishes you start craving for what’s next, and it’s never disappointing as the thick riffs and focused rumble just keeps pumping. The key to a lot of this is the other man on guitar, Jesper Eklow, a man who pretty much runs his own riff factory and churns out all manner of throbbing fuzzed up chords on which Paul Major can do his stuff. Backing Jesper is the powerhouse rhythm section of Mark Ohe and drummer Harry Druzd. Their dense beats and diaphragm vibrating bass sounds are the cornerstone on which Jesper and Paul carve their magic. What a unit the four of them are – the focus is obvious to see and hear and they don’t let up for a moment.
After a particularly pulsating rendition of ‘Smoking Figs In The Backyard’ Paul announces that it’s time for a break – ‘y’all go smoke, go drink, whatever you need’ he says, before adding ‘we like to smoke the other stuff too y’know’, and leaves the stage to a slightly surprised but subdued round of applause as the crowd are slightly unsure as to whether this is the end. It’s not, as 5 minutes later they are back to throw 2 more massive slabs of bouncy textured fuzz at the now smaller crowd. If anything these final tracks are even better than what came before and as both are something like 10 minutes the set stretched far longer than we expected which was a bonus.
After the show we ventured into what appeared to be a back stage area but which was actually an alley way to find the band and entourage in a cloud of beer and smoke. We had a good chat with bassist Mark who sounded more astonished than impressed that I’d made the 400 mile round trip from Leeds. What was I going to do? This was my only chance and no way was I going to miss it!
We finished up with warm smiles and handshakes all round, plus firm instructions for them to get up to the ever-wonderful Brudenell Social Club when they come to the UK again, and the evening drew to a close.
Someone called these guys ‘Status Quo’ for hispters which is a fun view. But you need the edge of prime AC/DC in there too, plus some Canned Heat and Monster Magnet. And other stuff. The point is that this combination works for Endless Boogie as well as the many people who enjoy their music. I once owned a Status Quo album – ‘Piledriver’ – which I loved as a kid. But I suspect the amount of times Endless Boogie’s 2013 ‘Long Island’ has been played since I got it must outweigh the amount of times Piledriver got attention….
Seems like others are spreading the word too. Check out The Guardian.
Mark, April 2013
- Endless Boogie – review (guardian.co.uk)