Bob Log III, the black sheep of Mississippi blues label Fat Possum Records, hit Iceland like a more hormonal, if more awkward, Matthew McConaughey. The stoner charm of his voice matched with the road stories I’d heard about this legend of the blues festival circuit, the one man band who could entertain the tops off of just about anyone.
In a brief interview on the local radio, he made a point of reminding listeners that he had a song, Clap Your Tits, in which the percussion… matched the title.
So I joined many a freezing artist to hear this legend, standing under a balcony at a local outdoor gallery. The vibe was pleasant enough, except for a lean young man with a moustache making pseudo-liberal generalisations about building in Arizona: Oh God, I thought, this Bob Log III has brought along some lame ass groupies. Of course, the lame ass was Mr. Log III, I realised a short while later during a mediocre, if slightly athletic, set.
Later that night, Grand Rokk was mobbed as word got out that Mr. Log III wore an odd helmet and flight suit. Actually, word got out that Mr. Log must be a member of the Strokes or some other bit of New York royalty, a bit helped along by the many local musicians who adore the Log.
I was the last person who should have attended the Log show: a fan of Fat Possum Records, a fan of slide guitar blues, of one-man bands, and lo-fi music that still remembers entertainment value; on paper, Log was a god. In person, he was a man with four riffs, a decent drum machine, and lyrics that Ogre of Revenge of the Nerds would have labelled a little too shallow.
Bob Log III does to blues what Girls Gone Wild does to film.
Which is not to say this night at Grand Rokk was a complete disappointment—not in the slightest. For one thing, RASS, the local geri-punk outfit, played an hour-long opening set that may have been the best concert Grand Rokk has ever witnessed. For another, an Icelandic audience made up mostly of musicians and artists demonstrated their curiosity and love for diversity—while I sat sulking in the back, Múm, Singapore Sling, members of the Kitchen Motors, and a mob of a crowd took in anything Bob Log III wanted to throw out.
The receptiveness of Icelandic crowds toward foreign musicians, especially those that push the envelope, truly sets them apart from the rest of the world. Sadly, this was an evening when the envelope was pushed toward Greek letters, beer bongs, and, Bob’s own invention, “Boob scotch.”
You can view Bob Log III’s videos for both Boob Scotch and Clap Your Tits and his website, www.boblog111.com. If you feel cheap afterwards, you may actually have a soul.
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