8 May 2019, Paisley Stage, Napier / By Ian Thomas /
There’s an analogue telephone receiver stuck into the visor of Bob’s helmet. It’s his mic, used for making sounds during songs and to talk to the audience between them. We hear Bob’s badinage, timed to perfection, like a long distance call from a funny uncle whose sweary, dirty jokes are sometimes old but so well told we laugh every time. You know that crazy uncle your mum says is disgusting and your dad struggles not to laugh at in front of her? That’s Bob Log the Third.
Bob’s from Arizona with a sack full of high speed Swampy Delta Blues. His skilled slide guitar and string plucking aren’t disguised by his comedy. This is the high calibre work of a talented musician. The band’s introduced “We got Right Foot on the kick drum, Left Foot on cymbals and drum machine” he drawls down the phone line. The old school one-man-band is reborn, and weirder than ever. Sporting a burgundy crushed-velvet human cannonball suit, shiny helmet, and taking a big inflatable duck wherever he goes, Bob Log entertains party fans around the world.
He’s come to Napier to start a party. He says “I don’t care what the rest of New Zealand says about you Napier, I love y’all”. The reciprocal love develops quickly in the audience. They run around like sugar-fueled 5-year-olds doing his bidding. When Bob beseeches the lighting guy to shine light on the place where he usually has his free drinks they rush to the bar to buy him a drink. When Bob says blow up balloons they all blow up balloons. When Bob invites everyone to climb onto his knee and take a selfie there’s a rush for the stage as the boys and girls clamber onto the freakishly enlarged thigh muscles of his drum playing leg. We’re in naughty Santa’s grotto and Santa wants us to stir his whisky with our nipples and clap with our tits (boobs or moobs). Bob tells them to pile the balloons up on stage between his legs and that’s what happens. The room is almost completely free of inhibitions. The party is in full swing. It’s a balloon blowing, bluesy, kitsch, loud, disco dance party, choreographed by this idiosyncratic entertainer.
The ratio of music to party fun is well struck. The place where the powerful beams of musical talent and comical weirdness cross is an energy charged sweet-spot full of laughter, dancing, giggling and drinking cheap bubbly wine from a dog bowl. Interactivity has enlivened the crowd and opened them up to the music where, arguably, the music alone would have appeared repetitive due to the confines of the one-man-band set-up.
The balloons are stomped on for percussion accompaniment throughout the second half until there’s none left and Bob stands with his guitar. He starts a fret buzz going and walks slowly off stage. The sound is like a motorbike disappearing into the distance. Show’s over, the crowd released from Bob’s Benjamin Button spell.
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