Old Street, London08/07/11
The name Jerry Tropicano isn’t great, is it? If you’ve got your own CBBC show, maybe, but not if you’re an Evan Dando-ish, gnarly blues musician who fronts a garage band. Regardless, Jerry and his bass-less four-piece (sometimes three of them all play distorted guitars, sometimes one hops on a battered organ) tonight pull in a rock’n’roll show that’s as surprisingly varied as it is muddy in sound.
It starts more like The Small Faces – in vocal style, at least – than, say, Strange Boys, or some other primitive punk band void of any playfulness whatsoever. Jerry’s guitar, designed like a TV test card, in multicoloured stripes, indeed looks tropical, but the sound coming from it is anything but. It growls deeply (pointing to why the bass can fuck off), whether letting out surf solos or (best of all) desert blues monster riffs. Even when they play a mid-set ‘slowy’ (a dulcet organ drone at least makes it a little more tender than the previous smashy smashy drums have managed), the distortion growls on.
It’s the only sound Jerry Tropicano is set on though, which is where his success lies – on the face of it, here’s just another scuzz band, but that is doesn’t get boring suggests Jerry is far better than his name.
By Austin Laike
Originally published in issue 30 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. July 2011.