August 12, 2005 - Seattle, WA - Crocodile Cafe
by Dagmar Patterson
The magnificence of British quartet 22-20s magnificence is on full display as they storm through proper rhythm and blues with effervescence and aplomb. At turns aggressively sexual in the way of 1960s Rolling Stones and then achingly gentle, they are vigorous and traditionally luscious.
The influence of the Ď60s is something they embrace, after all they did a smashing cover of the Stonesí Stupid Girl and you would swear it was their own song. It may not be deliberate but their lyrics and sound are so authentic to the Ď60s you will not find any reference that could date the lyrics in any era. The sultry-voiced Martin Trimbleís guitar work is perfect and omnipotent - itís hard to believe he is the only guitarist in the band and does not have the support of a rhythm guitar. A well-known blues player as a teenager (along with 22-20s bass player Glen Bartup) he commands. Bartup, sauntering with strength and versatility, is a classically cool bass player. The pair have played together under the name 22-20s (from Skip Jamesí 22-20 Blues) for a few years and their onstage connection is tremendous. They recently added keyboardist Charly Coombes as a permanent band member (he played on the self-titled debut cd) and his work strengthens the bandís overall sound. Hardy and gifted drummer James Irving rounds out the band.
Their songs are moody in the best way possible. Trimbleís lyrics are cruel and then poignant. When Trimble coos "If I didnít have a heart/Iíd be the one youíre looking for" it was a warmly soothing moment. The entire set list was superb with especially solid performances of "Iím the One," "Why Donít You Do it For Me," and "Shoot Your Gun."
Opening band King Elementary of Jackson, Mississippi is comprised of 18 year olds Morgan Jones, guitar and vocals; Andrew Fox, drums; Jeremy Upton, guitar; and Will Randolph, bass and vocals. Itís rare to see such accomplished musicians at any age. After the initial shock wore off, about two songs into their set, it was easier to focus on the music and its intriguing sounds. Singer/guitarist Jones plays the guitar beautifully and his vocals punch and stun. One of their strongest songs was Rebecca, a captivating blues-rock piece. Their set list was comprised of songs off their album, Kudzu, an impressive debut.