Twenty Miles – NME: London Highbury Garage (PRESS, UK)

17 January 1998* NME

Twenty Miles - NME: London Highbury Garage (PRESS, UK)- cover Twenty Miles - NME: London Highbury Garage (PRESS, UK) - text

Live Review in NME from 20 Miles and The Delta 72 show Upstairs at The Garage, London, UK on 14 December 1997.

*NME cover date

“JUDAH BAUER HAS A VISION. IN it, he steps out of Jon Spencer’s shadow (his ‘day job’ is playing guitar for the mighty Blues Explosion) into the spotlight. Doing his best Bob Dylan impression, he executes fancy slide-guitar manoeuvres while puffing maniacally into his harmonica and singing – well, slurring gutturally – about ‘whatahthecatdraggedinumph’.

Twenty Miles – which is Bauer, with his brother on drums – allows him to live this dream. Unsurprisingly the result is something like a phlegmatic Blues Explosion, without the pelvic thrusts. Which leaves it up to The Delta 72, under the inspired leadership of the snazzily besuited Gregg Foreman, to blow the ‘blues rock’ genre wide open.

With bawling schizoid rhythms and Farfisa organ grooves, The Delta 72 formulate an assault on the senses that owes more to the iconoclastic energy of punk than to the ‘Elvis is a sex god’ school of men in tight trousers.

“This is music for the people, by the people,” screams Foreman. And if you don’t believe it, you’re liable to suffer the blow of his boot up your backside when he prowls through the audience, beseeching us to relinquish ourselves to the power of the bumptious Delta 72 beat.

It’s damn near impossible to resist. The Delta 72’s seriously soulful energy recalls the screeching intensity of the Make-Up, but, as Foreman repeatedly reminds us, “this is dance music”, and it swings its hips and shimmies before exploding in a frenzy of crashing guitars. Much of it, like The Cut’, is almost entirely instrumental, with Foreman providing a focal point by flailing around psychotically until he collapses on the floor.

Jon Spencer better watch his back, there’s a new gang in town.

– April Long”