White Hassle, Upstairs at the Garage, London

Chiselled of jaw, sharp cut in the denim department, he slings his guitar round his neck, checks that the dollar bill rests firmly between the strings and then he steps up to the microphone. To his right: pots and pans, an upturned bin, and even one real drum. All of these things are scattered around a scruffy yet hard looking man, who is seated on a battered chair. The first clears his throat, "Good evening ladies and gentlemen, we're white hassle." With that declaration made, they lash into a clattering 'I Lose Again' - extracting a rattling but structured musical bedlam from their low rent tools. White Hassle, ladies and gentlemen, are the kind of band poetry would have you stumble upon in a tangled street scene. Something like the ultimate country blues street musicians. Men fixed to travel light and born to create a sound weary of heart. It's a sound that simultaneously harks back to raw garage rock, 50s/60s country, and some of the blues originals. These two men exude rock 'n' roll spirit while manufacturing a sound that is exquisitely full, yet handsomely uncluttered. Whether they are ripping through a an almost honky-tonk version of 'Leave My Woman Alone' or bashing out more of their own timeless sounding compositions, they sound gleefully unique. The new song 'White Hassle Intro' is particularly special, as Marcellus Hall puts down his guitar and plays his harmonica as a demon might. With some serious blues noise lashed tight to Dave Warenka's sharp percussion on his ragtag drum kit, the song is pure excitement and bodes well for the next record. When they're eventually persuaded to do an encore, the final song sounds suspiciously like a Hasil Adkins number, which pretty much says it all: a comparison to the little known and awkward 'hillbilly Elvis' seems to fit quite nicely.(Drew)
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