Seasick Steve + Joe Gideon and the Shark @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall – 29th January 2009

Seasick Steve
“I started out with nothing and I still got most of it left” is the self proclamation which has become Seasick Steve’s catch phrase.

It pretty much sums up everything about the bearded musical ‘hobo’. What the man can do with a cardboard box guitar (the Diddly Bo) and a tin box drum simulator that he stamps on repeatedly (the Mississippi Drum Machine) borders on genius and the fact that he does it dressed in dungarees and a checked shirt, makes him all the more endearing.
Joe Gideon & the SharkJoe Gideon & the Shark
Two piece support act  – the ingeniously named Joe Gideon and the Shark – opened up the show – and it was evident pretty early on that they’d be like a musical parody of marmite – you’d either love em, or hate em. Personally I thought they were great! They had a unique blend of the Nick Cave repetition and Cream like blues about them. I have to say the drummer was really inventive and there was certainly a theatrical element to the two piece which really struck a chord with (certain sections) of the crowd.
Seasick Steve
Amidst the crowds chants of “Stevoooo Stevooo” the ‘main event’ made his way to through the washing line festooned stage, which resembled a trailer park yard to the adulation of the packed Civic Hall.
Seasick Steve
He then proceeded to treat the audience to a unique blend of roadhouse blues. Many of his tunes are pretty heartfelt and focus around his life living rough and doing casual work. Songs from “the Hobo Low” and ‘Dog House Boogie’ are belted out with the gravelly blues voice and the assistance of a plethora of weird and wonderful instruments, from the one stringed ‘Diddly Bo’ through to the ‘Three String Trance Wonder’ which Steve bought from his good buddy Sherman.

Part of the attraction of seeing Seasick Steve is the stories he has to tell… what can only be described as his unique and unusual life. Every time he plays he waxes lyrical about the three string he bought from ‘Sherman’ and how he was ‘ripped off’ ending up with a 3 string guitar! However, the very fact that it has only got 3 strings, makes the sound he produces from it all the more amazing with booming vocal peaks over sparse stabs of blues guitar in his own inimitable style.
Seasick Steve
“I didn’t even know what a Brit was” claims Steve commenting on his recent nomination for the prestigious music award. I have to admit, I believe him and this is part of his charm.

If you’ve not seen Seasick Steve then you really should treat yourself to a showing. The singer may be 66 years old but he really does have a tale to tell. It’s an autobiography of his life and it’s a tale you really should share with him.
Seasick Steve

Words by Zak Edwards

Seasick Steve photos by Bianca Barrett

Joe Gideon and the Shark photos by Lee Allen

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