1998 Bolwerk, Sneek: Butler plays blues the way it should be
From our friend Feelgood comes this story about 13’s Jan. 30, 1998, gig at Bolwerk, videos of which are available on YouTube. Nothing groundbreaking here, but a fine read nonetheless. More accurate translations are appreciated.
LESTER BUTLER PLAYS BLUES THE WAY IT SHOULD BE
by Jacob Haagsma, Leeuwarder Courant
Jan. 20, 1998
SNEEK — From Pinkpop to a club room for a few hundred people. Lester Butler is not the first to reverse this road test. Ever since his previous band Red Devils, loudly applauded and enjoined by such greats as Mick Jagger and Rick Rubin. But now this singer-harmonica player is again on his own.
Though that’s not entirely true, because he is supported by a first-rate, bright-playing band. Main playmaker in 13 is guitarist Alex Schultz, with an intensely vicious attitude but at the same time never losing sight of the swing. As befits actually.
Because yes, 13 plays the blues like it actually hears, but as that too little hear. By going to the harrowing intensity that the original black practitioners laid decades ago, at least, these pale boys from Los Angeles are close. And with the raw energy of today, as if they traveled on skateboards to Sneek have rather than in a narrow coach.
Including the brisk rhythm section, with loosely pounding, thundering drums and functional, ie no note-counting, bass. Live the songs are less pointed than the extremely elementary produced, self-titled debut CD. Butler and Schultz let themselves often go into long solos, but they seem to charge less to run than show muscle to pure fun.
Between the two main poles of the blues, the literally dying legion of black veterans and the inflated display of power of the white blues rockers, are increasingly idiosyncratic types that are out to show that eternal 12-bar of the blues still have a future. Lester Butler is one of them. If the blues of the next century will actually need help we need to wait and see, but as “soundtrack” for copious beer consumption the music doesn’t look out of place in any case. And that has always been an important feature of the blues.
Previously the Leeuwarder band veteran and new father Bob Schaafsma said that he is far from exhausted. As yet another incarnation of the Milwaukee Beefcakes has brought up may possibly belong to the old-boys network genre, filled with rock and blues clichés. But the men play raw and with full conviction, including Bob communicating with the American spoken announcements of whiskey with rough voice. We only had to hear more banjo..
Place: The Bolwerk. Sneek.
Event: Concert of American blues band featuring Lester Butler and 13.
Support act: Milwaukee Beefcakes.
Interest: about 300 people.