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Big Special put their new album to the test at Jazz Cafe in Camden

Big Special put their new album to the test at Jazz Cafe in Camden

Big Special at Jazz Cafe Camden

“It stinks of Radio 6 in here.”

There’s a smirk on Callum’s face as he says it. It’s become somewhat of a lighthearted taunt in the industry, but it’s an unmistakable smell to be fair. That of a dad. And when he says it stinks, I think he’s referring to the aura.

Well, it was Dad’s time to shake out his back pain and make it tomorrow’s bigger problem.

Callum found the drum kit that robbed his wallet and battered it accordingly to a triumphant BLACK COUNTRY GOTHIC from their new record. A fast-paced stomper to let the people eating their dinner on the upper balcony of Jazz Cafe know that they may have made a misjudgment in choosing the venue for a cute hot date. 

One thing that was immediately clear was that Joe Hicklin’s voice is somehow more powerful than studio makes out. Maybe it’s because you can see him rolling around the stage as if he’s had five shots of adrenalin to counteract a tranquiliser dart and we’re witnessing the internal battle. 

Spitting, tongue out, eyes out even further, head rolling, stumbling, talking to the gods.

It’s magic. It’s enthralling. It’s having the same effect on the crowd that the Golden Ticket had on Grandpa Joe.

There are calls for SHITHOUSE throughout the crowd between songs – or at least I hope they were for the song.

Luckily enough, they introduced it early on. Bringing on Zac Lawrence of DEADLETTER to accompany Joe on the vocals. This was the one. This tuned every last one of the audience in for the rest of the set.

And just as you thought Joe’s voice had shocked you enough, BLACK DOG / WHITE HORSE showcased his singing versatility. It’s actually what distinctly separates them from the likes of DEADLETTER and Yard Act with the spoken delivery. It’s no coincidence that it’s their most played song on Spotify.

They’ve got that almost threatening look in their eyes. Not the threatening look where you’re gonna knocked about like his drums if you look at him funny, but the glisten that suggests they’ve seen a lot; been through a lot. Maybe internally. And they’re letting it out in the most powerful way of performance and poetry. 

Yes, there was even poetry.

And the room fell silent to hear him speak.

With shaking hands but a roaring voice.

You were drawn to listen without a choice.

It made their come up make complete sense

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As they performed from the heart with no pretence.

(Sorry, it felt right.)

Their gratitude was infectious. 

Their 17+ years friendship has developed this Chucklevision, to me to you, type humour that I’m all here for. As were the dads.

“Like Butlins meets poetry” they confessed themselves.

With shows like this one at Jazz Cafe in Camden, I can see why Big Special are spreading like an underground fire that emerges too big to control. 

I recommend the album.

I recommend seeing it in the wild even more.

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