Live at Mixing Tin on Tuesday, 14th March 2006
Things get loud when Hobo Jungle take to the stage after what was billed as an acoustic night at Mixing Tin. As guitarist Ryan gets things underway with a solo jam. We're suddenly transported from a reserved, subdued room to a smoky, booze-filled Texas blues joint, with lead singer Rafi as hypnotised by the guitar as the drunken crowd.
As the jam blends into first song, 'Side of the Road' Rafi's soulful voice comes to the fore. Combined with echoey guitar and a deep, bass sound, Hobo Jungle create an atmosphere of groove-filled melancholy. In contrast, 'I Can't Agree' is an upbeat tune which puts a smile on the face, especially when backed up with some good ol' Harmonica. These guys obviously love their Rhythm and Blues and stick closely to its traditions, which is no bad thing.
In keeping with this, they pay homage to the British legend Gary Moore with their own version of 'Still got the blues'. There's something about blues guitar that really gets down to the bare-bones of music and the passion is etched on Ryan's face as another deft solo brings the song to an end.
'BuloLand', Rafi explains, is a song based on the Bulo blues style and tells of a man who falls asleep, only to be transported to a magical land. It's hard not to go with him, carried along by a funky tune which affords Daniel Green an impressive drum solo. But at this point, things momentarily take a turn for the technical, as the bass cut out. Not to be fazed by this, Ryan quickly stepped up, noodling away as Rafi comically pretended it was part of the plan and this was simply a new song called 'The man with the green thumb'.
With bass player Dave back on board, Hobo Jungle invoke the ghost of Stevie Ray Vaughan for 'Pride and Joy', which wipes away the memory of what could have been a pant-wettingly embarrassing moment. It sounds great, and the band play on as if nothing had happened. And with things back on track, Dave throws down a thunderous bass solo for good measure.
The highlight of the night is 'Sugar and the Lonewolves', again penned by the band. It stands out with a funky rhythm and catchy chorus and whilst they claim not to have played it in over a year, their onstage confidence makes you believe they could play it in their sleep.
'Hard to Handle' closes the set with each band member having a solo fling, before an encore of Dire Straits' 'Sultans of Swing'. Once again, the bass cuts out so the boys call it a day, but despite their amps turning against them, this was a triumphant set.