When I arrive at The Firebug, I am told that all three support act have cancelled. That is not necessarily an entirely bad thing, as local supports in Leicester aren’t that good on the whole. In their place a street busker called Calvin Jeffrey has been given a last minute call and stands in supporting a band that he never heard of. He is a cool-looking rasta with an acoustic guitar, who over the space of half an hour goes from being out of his depth in a foreign setting to winning over the crowd with his slice of Leicester life, all told with the joy of a young Bob Marley.

Dead Meadow hail from Washington DC. A three piece that formed in 1998, their line-up consists of Jason Simon on guitar and vocals, Steve Kille on bass and on drums Mark Laughlin. Having only heard one album a few years back, I only roughly knew what to expect from them, but twelve songs later my ears had been given a damn good shake up.

They open with ‘Six to Let the Light Shine Thru’ from their latest album ‘Warble Womb’ which truly blows away the cobwebs. It mixes cool strong blues with layers of textured wah wah guitar which show us just how good a guitarist Jason really is.

‘Everything Going On’ has the easy, lustful rawness and magic of the White Stripes that initially attracted John Peel and turned him into such a super fan. It is an easy comparison to make, but with their long guitar lines and three piece line-up, all of whom know exactly what they are doing, there is also an element of the Jimi Hendrix Experience about them.

‘1000 Dreams’ is a calmer affair, but only just. ‘Such Hawks, Such Hounds’ jangles sweetly until Jason tightens his guitar up and lets it loose on the crowd. ‘Rains in the Desert’, which is again from ‘Warble Womb’, is painfully slow, but jagged in delivery and again hits the mark.

‘At Her Open Door’ is a decent head bopper with a slacker groove, and hints at a new wave Dinosaur, Jr. ’In the Thicket’, another song from ‘Warble Womb’, is a number that shows off the band’s full strengths, and slowly paced almost burns your skin with its smouldering wah wah-infused ending.

‘Good Moanin’ is a tight cauldron of sound, a stew of instrumentation that goes beyond psychedelia and shakes us all up. ‘Sleepy Silver Door’ is as experimental as Pink Floyd, and long and loud. The last three numbers are not on the set list, but the noise that fills the air screams attention, as if life itself depended on it which is enough to shake off the colds of this cold Leicester day.

A very fine band indeed.

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