CEDRIC BURNSIDE – THE CLUNY -15/02/19
The Cluny which is placed in the heart of Ouseburn, encapsulated by industrial buildings that used to service the now-defunct estuary. The Cluny is must go venue for avid music enthusiasts, it oozes that certain something.
Tonight’s show is brought to Newcastle by the infamous ‘Jumpin’Hot Club’ who have a sharp ear for the best in Americana, Blues, and Country.
The Jumpin’ Hot Club is the sister organization of Northern Roots, who deliver community outreach projects to connect people through Roots music.
The headliner tonight is Cedric Burnside who will take the stage on the basement level known as the Cluny 2. I say take the stage – it is basically the same level at which the audience stands, this probably as close as you get to be near an artist, there is seating like an auditorium at the back. The ambient lit room along with neon bar signs gives the place a brilliant bluesy atmosphere. The ’Jumpin’Hot Club has been bringing the jive since 1985’ so it is no surprise to see the audience exchanging familiars, giving it a really friendly feel.
Cedric Burnside; Grammy-nominated artist from Memphis, USA is on tour promoting his latest album “Benton County Relic”. It is a compilation of his modern take on Hill country Blues, he is well versed in this as he comes from a family steeped in blues, his grandfather the late R L Burnside and father Calvin Jackson.
Tonight Burnside starts with the guitar and stool, encouraging the audience to dance alongside his wild, almost abstract blues. All eyes are on the artist, the room is quiet as he slides around the guitar neck like lightning. Standing to the side is Cedric’s wife who has come along to help with the merchandise – which is where I was stood. I could her quietly singing slight harmonies – lovely highlight.
Halfway through the night Burnside is accompanied by Brian Jay who he has worked with to create this latest offering of electric blues, Cedric Burnside is enigmatic in his performance he keeps the emphasis on the rhythm that retains the groove all inherent of his Mississippi roots, with few chords changes his soulful voice which he holds and let’s go just at the right time, this is typified in the track “Hard to stay cool” which makes easy listening to the tightly packed crowd who gently sway. To me it made me feel like I was having a cool beer as the sun was setting. Cedric Burnside held the crowd in between performance with some brilliant Mississippi anecdotes.
Later There was a slight interlude in proceedings as Cedric who had at this time taken to the drums had broken the base pedal, beating the drums literally into submission! Brian Jay continued to play guitar as a technician went to find another pedal – both artists so laid back and enjoying the night, Jay is a fantastic blues guitarist, as well as a drummer, his facial expressions as he played showing true to the moment. The impromptu pedal interlude did little to dampen his ardor – Burnside took to the kit as a man possessed.
“Keep Pushin” was a standout and really got the crowd jiving as though the interlude had brought the audience closer.
All in all, this was blues given to you in a sharp and polished if slightly unconventional style, lyrically and sonically, Burnside is a master -top drawer stuff!
Cedric Burnside is currently touring the album Benton County Relic
Reviewer – Carmichael – THE SLABCITY SHOW