by Dylan Graham
My first reaction to hearing about Big Boy Bloater and the Limits was that of sheer amusement. What a wacky name for a band, I thought. However, the title stuck with me and I wasn’t surprised to find out that they had been booked to play in a similarly eccentrically named venue in Bristol – Mr Wolf’s Noodle Bar. As I entered the building, I was greeted by the aroma of fried noodles. Not just a hipster title, it seems. Having already eaten that night, I headed straight to the back room where Big Boy Bloater and the Limits were just getting started.
Although not sold out, the band effortlessly heightened spirits for the duration of the night. Not one person stood still as they performed their signature bluesy bangers. Big Boy Bloater is an entertaining front-man. His powerful booming vocals come across much better live than on record, and his mid song banter (which seemed to revolve around drinking beer) had the crowd laughing and cheering throughout.
Although not in the limelight like Big Boy Bloater, the rhythm section (the Limits) were equally impressive. Steve Oates provided walking bass lines that accompanied Big Boy Bloaters rhythmic lead perfectly. When you think you had Oates’ role sussed out, he would switch things up on certain songs with a more technical, distorted sound. Matt Cowley on drums carried the band with interesting fills and a charismatic performance. I often found my attention moving from Big Boy Bloater to Cowley’s persistent energy, a strong attribute to the show.
After playing for about an hour, Big Boy Bloater announced that they were about to play their final song, much to the crowds disappointment. However, without even leaving the stage the band bowed out with a two song encore with the whole crowd more lively than ever, ending the gig on a high. There was a loud desire for a second encore; it seemed as if the band could have kept playing long into the night and no one would have complained.
Big Boy Bloater and the Limits describe their sound as hard hitting Rhythm and Blues with a contemporary twist and their live performance was just that; they managed to make a classic genre feel fresh and exciting.