Review: Steve 'Boltz' Bolton

At The Pearson’s Arms, Whitstable, on Tuesday 2 October 2012

 

On a chilly rainy night our spirits were raised and cheered by a warm and intimate gig courtesy of the one man dynamo Steve Bolton.

 

With a charismatic presence that distils the essence and professionalism of a thousand and one rock stages, and a long career in the rock music world (Google for details), he opened with a song from a hot and swampy place originally recorded by The Byrds , Lover of the Bayou.

His well stocked stall of music goodies was up and ready for business, as with amazingly fast strumming hand becoming a blur on his amplified acoustic, guitar runs were punctuated with bursts of ‘Wha Wha’ pedal, sometimes ending a song with deft use of ‘feedback’.

 

Rock classics including Paint it Black (with Brian Jones' sitar clearly being referenced in Steve’s playing), Norwegian Wood, and All along the Watchtower were excitingly rendered in glorious technicolour with intensity and vigour, sometimes sounding like several guitarists at once. What in the hands of a lesser musician could become an exercise in nostalgia, coming from Steve instead takes you into the core of what was great about those songs, as he breathes a living vitality into them, while creating a ‘Wall of Sound’ that Phil Spector could be proud of!

 

Plucking numerous songs from what is obviously a very big bag indeed…a Ring of Fire here, a California Dreaming there…Steve reaches the punters that others can’t; quite literally at times when with a long cable he takes his guitar for a walk through the pub, either stopping for a few short joshing words, “You came round here to get away from me! ” or serenading some lucky individual like a wandering psychedelic troubadour. Was it the attentive audience or was he just feeling chatty? as between numbers we were treated to a hilarious combination of music lesson, jokes, and a stream of consciousness dialogue, while Steve demonstrated for example which chord best evokes the sound of the wind, or at another point explaining “That’s pizzicato you know!”… and telling us that he also gives guitar lessons, (we got ours for free!).

 

One of the many highlights for me was Steve’s fine version of Iggy Pop’s song The Passenger and it was good to hear Dylan’s She Belongs To Me and I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight. From the birth of psychedelic music in Britain a performance of Pink Floyd’s Arnold Layne conjured up all the heady promise and strange mystery of early Floyd. Steve also has a cracking band, The New White Trash, who although elsewhere last night can be seen in videos on Steve’s page in this site, and Local & Live is very keen to see them gigging soon in the Whitstable and Canterbury area, as their videos show that they deliver a storming set! (great music loving venues please take note!) … and if you want a healing infusion of genuine high octane rock and much more besides get down to Doctor Steve ‘Boltz’ Bolton’s clinic immediately!

 

Submitted by Nigel

 

Find his next gig: Steve Boltz Bolton