Musicians Against Homelessness

by Pete Carpenter // Photos by Pete Carpenter, Oct 05, 2017

Bristol's finest join together for a noble cause.

Tonight's show is a fundraiser for Musicians Against Homelessness, an amazing organisation that does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Their twin aims are to raise money for the charities Crisis and Simon Community, as well as to give some much needed air-time to up and coming bands. Basically, Musicians Against Homelessness are a pretty good bunch.

The show, which takes place at The Mother's Ruin, kicks off with the insanely talented Joss Mussman. His softly spoken and mild demeanour simply do not prepare you for the throaty, bass-laden southern blues vocal that worms it’s way in and out of the melody of his first original number.

Blues chops in spades which are executed in the finest style, Joss has the audience captivated within seconds with his 12 bar torment. After the applause dies down, Joss gives us some insight into the diversity of his influences by following up with an R. L. Burnside track. 'When I Climb The Tree', another original number serves as a highlight to Joss’ talent, building in pace and intensity as the number grows. He rounds things off with a flawless John Lee Hooker cover but, honestly, his original songs were the highlight of the set for me.

Next up is an act I’m excited to see on the line-up. Having grown up and played in bands in Bristol for many years and, in turn, attended hundreds of gigs of local shows; Rita Lynch is a name that is synonymous with Brtistol's live music scene. Backed up by guitar and drums courtesy of long time collaborators, Blue Aeroplanes, Rita gets the ball rolling with crunchy blues rock number, 'High and Mighty', while the second song 'Hope' puts her punk roots on show for all to see.

'Attention' demands just that, a slow ponderous opening riff which built to an explosive crescendo. I’m reminded of elements of The Pixies while Rita's vocal has notes of Velvet Underground era Nico as the set progresses. My good friend Murray leans over to me and says that it’s like listening to the soundtrack to a Kevin Smith film and I can only agree! Rita is still an act that I urge anyone to see and the fact that she is ever evolving and developing is testament to status and renown as Bristol Music Royalty.

Husky Tones are this evening's hosts and the decision to be involved with Musicians Against Homelessness has obviously come from a personal place. Having never seen this duo live before I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of blues, punk and soul that rushed from the stage.

With Victoria Bourne on drums and lead vocals and Chris Harper on guitar, the wall of sound that they extract from such limited tools is incredible. The temptation is to compare them to The White Stripes but that would do Husky Tones a disservice. Following the sheer groove of 'Wash My Hands' and the anger of protest song 'Momentum'; Bourne and Harper tease us with the undeniably sexy thud of 'These Hips'.

With a set full of huge riff-laden blues, there is little here that you cannot enjoy. The penultimate song of the set, 'Goin' Down South' is dedicated to Joss and echoes that southern blues snarl. Finally, to round things off, Husky Tones don’t fail to deliver and send us all to the bar grinning like maniacs with their infamous 'Glory Box' cover which puts me in mind of Led Zeppelin at their very best.

Black Wendy are tonight's headliners and take to the stage with the cool swagger of a rock band who aren’t strangers to success and adulation. Tonight the adulation comes in by the sack full. The crowd are cheering and yelling and the other acts are on the floor dancing as the band launch into '1234', a funky blues rock number with a driving vocal and suitably shouty chorus. After they’ve settled in and worked up the crowd they give us  the superb 'Southpaw'. The chants for guitarist Fabio begin with lead singer Damien leading the cheer. “Give me an F, Give me an A, Give me a B…” well, I’m sure you can figure out the rest!

The heat of the room does little to discourage the fans, dancing and singing along with every bar as funk rock beats on. 'George and Dragon' continues in the same pulsing vein as the rest of the set. By 'Little Puppets', I’m afraid I’ve stopped taking notes but that is only because I’ve given into their seduction and have found myself on the floor with the rest of the die hard fans.

Black Wendy took to the stage and ripped the lid off the place. An incredible act and a thunderous way to top off a lineup that was bursting with talent.

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