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One Man Band Festival will feature innovative multi-tasker musicians, single-handedly creating unique works across a range of instruments

08 February, 2019 — By Róisín Gadelrab

Dollar Bill will launch the One Man Band Festival at Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch, on March 20

AH, the one-man band. An enigma. The multi-tasker extraordinaire – more compelling than a singer-songwriter, the genre carries the awkward image of the clumsy eccentric with cymbals strapped to his kneecaps narrowly avoiding strangulation by harmonica.

But this discipline has evolved. No less bizarre or experimental, the One Man Band Festival, coming to various Blues Kitchen branches and the Jazz Cafe next month, will showcase some of the best of the genre in the UK.

Running from March 20 to 28, the festival will feature a packed line-up of innovative musicians, single-handedly creating unique works across a multitude of instruments.

Launching at Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch, on March 20, Dollar Bill brings his raw, stripped down, stompin’ and rockin’ blues to the stage. Joining him on the night will be the one-man punk-blues band, Hollowbelly, aka John Farr.

With a three-string cigar-box guitar in his hands, a blues harp at his mouth, a pre-war marching drum at his right foot and a 1930s low boy at his left, Hollowbelly creates lo-fi, authentic, fast and furious shows, perfectly honed from spending his early years playing working men’s clubs.

UK Blues award-winner Ian Siegal plays Brixton’s Blues Kitchen on March 26

On March 21 Canadian maverick blues man Son of Dave, a former member of Grammy award-winning band Crash Test Dummies (remember their 1993 single Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm?) plays Blues Kitchen Brixton with One Man Destruction Show. Son of Dave combines the classic prison staple harmonica with beatboxing to create an unmatched and unmissable sound – rhythm and blues turned on its head. Fat White Family’s Adam J. Harmer, aka One Man Destruction, provides his very own unique blend of rock & roll, garage and blues. On Friday (March 22), the eccentric US slide-guitar performer Bob Log III, known for wearing a full body human cannonball suit and helmet wired to a telephone receiver to free his hands and feet for guitar and drums, returns to the Jazz Cafe. His last show at the Camden Town venue featured an electrifying sold-out set, which at one point involved crowd-surfing in a rubber dinghy.

Rhythm-led, heavy on the bass and rootsy in the melody, King Size Slim is a powerful performer and a must-see on the blues circuit. He’ll complete the bill with his own musical story.

On March 26, back at Blues Kitchen, Brixton, contemporary bluesman Ian Siegal, who recently won Best Male Vocalist and Best Acoustic Artist in the UK Blues Awards 2018, brings his commanding set to the stage.

Support on the night comes from UK blues circuit regular Big Joe Louis, whose style is said to be unparalleled on this side of the Atlantic.

The festival closes at Blues Kitchen Camden on March 28 with Brick Lane busker and YouTube phenomenon Lewis Floyd Henry, whose one-man, multi-genre show, can go from Jimmy Hendrix to Biggie Smalls in one great swoop, with a super-smooth blend that is almost undetectable.

Henry’s raw, gritty show will close the festival in Camden but not before a supporting set from Hipbone Slim – a man who has amassed more than 30 self-composed albums – playing stompin’ rhythm and blues on guitar, harmonica, foot drums and maracas.

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