I'd not actually been to the Louisiana before, though I thought I had. I also thought it was in a different part of town. It's a young person's pub, the venue is a tiny room upstairs with a barely raised stage at one end, and a bar large enough to serve maybe three people at the other end. Official capacity is 120 people, this show was a fast sell out.
King Biscuit Time is Steve Mason, former front singer with the recently split Beta Band. On this occasion accompanied by another multi-instrumental gentleman, providing bass, extra percussion, keyboards, and other flourishes. KBT existed already as an ongoing side project distinct from the BB, now presumably it's his main gig.
The back catalogue is modest, just two 'EPs' to date; the liberally named 'Sings Nelly Foggit's Blues in "Me and the Pharaohs"' from around 1998, then a followup 'No Style' from around 2000. Tip to the would-be purchaser, the 'No Style' CD EP contains the previous EP as a bonus disk, buy one, get both. And now there's a single 'C I AM 15', which is good fun, and presumably the reason behind this current micro-tour.
It was hot, and packed close. Support was from Pip Dylan, in a pedal steel and fingerpicking solo-folk-country sort of set, which bored all but four of the punters to find other distractions, prompting complaints about the conversation noise from the stage.
The main set was around an hour and a half, almost entirely new material, save a couple of highlights from the 'No Style' EP, a pair of subtly chosen Beta Band songs chucked in in the middle, and the single, twice ( well, it was being released the following day ) . And a surprising reggae-lite reading of 'Anarchy in the UK' which brought a smile and didn't outstay it's welcome.
It all sounded great, a big sound from what may have been a duo (I have a suspicion that there was a drummer tucked in in the back, but I couldn't really see much, having loitered towards the rear of the crush where there was a pretence of aircon). Regardless, it was a full sound, and all the songs were focused, melodic, and quite possibly radio-friendly, given sufficient promotion. I'm not sure if there's a big media campaign planned, although we were informed during some stage banter that he was shortly going to be filming a contestant appearance on 'Never mind the Buzzcocks' alongside Lionel Blair.
On the way out, I picked up the customary t-shirt from the stand from a familiar looking vendor. It was Pip Dylan, who advised me against the pink, and also sold me one of his own CDs. Low-key, and presumably low-cost, touring. I think the the first King Biscuit Time album is scheduled for sometime in the summer of 2006. I'm looking forward to it.Â