Bob Log III @ Empire Music Hall, Belfast

Review by Mark Ashby Saturday 19th May 2012

Photography by Jamie Hunter

There are many adjectives which could be applied in describing Bob Log III, but by far the most apt is unique…he takes the stage in what at first appears to be a conventional jacket and open collar shirt, coupled with what looks like a pair of spangly tracksuit bottoms; an unusual appearance but nothing extraordinary, you might think – but then note the fact that is face is covered with what looks like a space helmet, and you know right away that this guy is definitely out-of-the-ordinary (and probably out of this world, if you see what we’re getting at…)

The jacket and shirt disappear after just one song, to reveal Bob resplendent in his trademark one-piece catsuit – or should that be spacesuit?

His music is good old fashioned blues in the finest delta tradition, but with a quirky, modern twist. He finger picks his way through his songs (only picking up a plectrum during the encore), accompanying his electrified acoustic blues by stomping on a snare with his right foot and a hi-hat/tambourine with the other, and an array of electronic effects and samples that serve to swell out his relatively simple style without detracting from it.

Despite his helmet, Bob has a surprising, distinctly personal link to his crowd – which, on this occasion, has rammed this converted church to the rafters – interacting with humour.

Graciously accepting the seemingly non-stop flow of whiskey shots that constantly appear at the front of the stage, all the while delivering a performance that is hypnotic and magnetic.

The highlight of the evening is undoubtedly the hysterical audience participation of ‘Don’t Shit On My Leg’, which sees him playing with a young lady perched on each knee and culminates in him going walkabout around the venue – including a failed trip into the ladies’ toilet, to which he was prevented access by the good-natured intervention of venue security!
It’s an entertaining and fun evening, with an artist who is certainly unique, charismatic and true to the blues roots while at the same time dragging the music into the 21st century and opening it up to new audiences….