@ Jam In The Dam, Amsterdam
Had Jane Austen been at Jam In The Dam, she might have written: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a blues band in possession of some gigs, must be in want of a beat-boxing mandolin player." Well, maybe not universally acknowledged. Well,…… okay,… my heart fell a little when the beat-boxing started; but not for long. The Bridge seem to have successfully and minimally worked vocal percussion into the act, just like they worked in a sax. Usually a sax just adds a bit of colour or goes honk on the beat in choruses but this band have made the sax into a proper full member of the band.
The festival aims for a mix – usually some prog, some dance-based stuff, some acoustic bluegrass and some organic folksy rock. The Bridge, glued this time to the smaller of the two stages were one of the discoveries of the festival. Think classic American rock – along the lines of The Band (in fact, The Bridge are as hard to Google for as The Band…). The sound is rich, steeped in country-blues and led much of the time by the electric guitar. The band do well to maintain momentum and some dancing by leaning heavily on a very tight rhythm section. Despite my attempts to pigeonhole them, they pull out surprises, like a honkytonk number and a George Melly-style stomper. They do a powerful blues duet – guitar and percussion from stamping feet and beat-box. Their singer has a voice well-suited to classic material and is bearded – ala Bob Seger and Robbie Robertson. The mandolin player has a fine voice too, as well as that goofy and absent look all mandolin players have when they play.
They combine lyrical guitar and blues guitar though there were times I wished every song didn’t have to build to a screaming guitar finish. The licks get tested when Eddie Roberts from The New Mastersounds joins them for some jamming – he stirs things up and the guitar duelling is fun. They have a solid range of original songs but aren’t afraid to play covers, like the old standard, Fire On The Bayou, which is a good opportunity to bring some of The Josh Phillips band on, alongside the keyboardist from New Mastersounds. Sadly, the rather twatty Mr Phillips (wearing 2 hats – make of that what you will) is clearly very stoned indeed and feels it’s a good time to start rapping Express Yourself. There’s always one, isn’t there….
The Bridge were a discovery for a lot of people and earned themselves a few hundred new fans.
More from 2010’s Jam In The Dam on Vanguard Online:
Jam In The Dam intro - March 2010
dB 30 - March 2010
Les Claypool - March 2010
Yonder Mountain String Band - March 2010
New Mastersounds - March 2010
Umphrey’s McGee - March 2010