|Little Feat/The Tom Fuller Band - London, Shepherd’s Bush Empire - 8th February 2013|
|Written by Jim Rowland|
|Thursday, 21 February 2013 03:00|
Few American rock bands from the seventies have been so revered and highly regarded as Little Feat. If you count the likes of Led Zeppelin amongst your biggest fans, you must be doing something special right? And on albums such as ‘Sailin Shoes’, ‘Dixie Chicken’ and ‘Feats Don’t Fail Me Now’, Little Feat were doing just that.
That was, of course, a long time ago now, and original Little Feat main man Lowell George departed this world many years ago. Since the days of Lowell George though, Little Feat have soldiered on, with original and long standing members Bill Payne, Paul Barrere, Sam Clayton and Kenny Gradney, and tonight sees them hit London in support of their first new album in nine years, ‘Rooster Rag’.
First up though, is The Tom Fuller Band from Chicago. Tom Fuller has a confident and laid back demeanour, and in many places tonight really reminded me of a younger Ian Hunter. He has a good band behind him, and they delivered a really enjoyable, quirky and well received set which at various stages seemed to fuse the aforementioned Hunter, with acts as diverse as The Beatles, Tom Petty, Neil Young and even Todd Rundgren.
Half of Little Feat’s set tonight features material from the new ‘Rooster Rag’ album, which means they’ve got confidence in it, and rightly so, because the likes of ‘Rag Top Down’, ‘Salome’, ‘Rooster Rag’ and the excellent ‘Church Falling Down’ are all impressive. But of course with a band with the pedigree of Little Feat, it’s the old classics that people still want to hear, and throughout the set they get some of them at least, though not too many to be honest, with set opener ‘Spanish Moon’, an outstanding ‘Willin’, ‘Feel the Groove’, and set closers ‘Dixie Chicken’ and ‘Fat Man In The Bathtub’ giving us all a reminder of the Lowell George days. It also gives us a reminder that without Lowell George, this isn’t quite the same band. They deliver a good show, and are all outstanding seasoned musicians, but it does lack a bit in the vocal department when you inevitably compare it the sound of those old albums, and ‘Dixie Chicken’, one of their most famous songs, illustrates that the delivery is a little bit more lacklustre than it may have been in days gone by.
Tonight was a good, enjoyable show, but by no means outstanding. Still, considering Little Feat began in the sixties, and all the trials and tribulations they’ve been through since then, the fact that they’re still doing it, still putting out new records, and still selling out venues like this, is no mean feat.
[Photos Tom Fuller - Martin Porter and Little Feat - Noel Buckley]