Good times are coming, I hear it everywhere I go…

Criminey! Was that two weeks ago? Where does the time go?

Wooden Shjips

Well… two weeks ago (apparently), I went to see San Francisco guitar fiends, Wooden Shjips in the appropriately grimy, down-to-earth surroundings of the Fleece in Bristol.  I think I’ve said before how much I like the Fleece, it really is yer bona fide “rock” venue, stone floors, old gig posters, real ale, ridiculously in-the-way pillars, and it really suited the dark, dark sound of Ripley Johnson and the boys.

We had a couple of support bands, one slightly ridiculous (Scarlet Rascal and the Trainwreck, ho hum) and one, Weston band Towns, rather fine (more of them soon I hope…)

The Shjips came on fairly late and did their thing for an hour or so, lumbering through a raucous, heavy set that drew largely on “West”. It was bassy, uncomplicated stuff, high on meandering solos and fabulously repetitive – pretty much what the punters ordered, in fact.  To be honest, I’d’ve liked the organ to have been a bit higher up in the mix (and I always find the vocals hard to hear) but that’s being churlish, really.

You get the impression that Johnson plays the music that’s in his head and won’t be deviating from that path any time soon – it’s up to us to keep up really, and I’m ok with that. They played for a long (or very short) hour, did an encore of Vampire Blues and were gone all too soon, a slight whiff of sulphur hanging in the air… All wonderfully shadowy and psychedelic…

The recording is patchy, (mainly because the sound was a bit erratic again), full of audience “participation” but on the whole good, highlights being an endless version of “For So Long” and a particularly brutal “Home”.

Black Smoke Rise


For So Long

Vampire Blues

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