Bloodshot Bill, Johnny & the Jerks, Gentleman John Battles | Hideout | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Bloodshot Bill

Bloodshot Bill

Jonathan Racine

Bloodshot Bill, Johnny & the Jerks, Gentleman John Battles Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Thu., July 28, 9 p.m. 2016
Price: $10
Bloodshot Bill emerged from Montreal in the late 90s with a poisonous take on rockabilly-garage-blues-whatever. Most of the time he’s a solo act, playing Delta licks on the guitar with his bare hands while keeping time on the drums with his bare feet (more than one YouTube video has him in a bathrobe and pajamas with his toes clearly visible). The rest of the time he might collaborate with King Khan as half of Tandoori Knights, or with Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray in Heavy Trash. There’s also a release with Shannon Shaw of Shannon & the Clams due out on Slovenly in September. While Bloodshot Bill does have his share of gimmicks—including a brand of hair pomade that he himself created—it’s been a while since I’ve witnessed “roots rock” sounding so reckless or authentic. Neither overly earnest nor outlandishly campy, Bill brings out the similarities between the blues and prepsych rock ’n’ roll, and you can get a good taste of his sound on the new album Guitar Boy (Norton). Also on tonight’s bill: a couple of local illustrators who walk down a similar musical road. The brainchild of Johnny Samspon, Johnny & the Jerks combine twangy hot-rod rock ’n’ roll with imagery straight out of classic EC comics and sci-fi flicks. And then there’s the otherworldly Gentleman John Battles, a lone singer-guitarist who, in the same vein as Hasil Adkins, stomps on a fuzzbox like it’s just another crack in the street. Some of his most inspired performances have been witnessed at the Big C Jamboree (the monthly rockabilly open mike at Martyrs), making the jitterbuggers stop dead in their tracks while he hammers home scary truths and shocking fantasies.
— James Porter


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