C.W. Stoneking at The Last Days of Decadence
29th April 2010, Leila Hawkins
East London club Last Days of Decadence lives up to its name by showcasing the essence of the roaring 20’s every Saturday night. The 15th of May sees arts collective Guerrilla Zoo curating a night which will star the award winning musician C.W. Stoneking.
Guerrilla Zoo are a group of artists and performers who host anything from immersive theatre (where the audience wanders freely around the performance) to Alejandro Jodorowsky seasons. The aim on this occasion is to re-create a 1920’s world where Stoneking’s music will be preceded by the cabaret performance of Mr. Flay and Deville, and the comedy/circus stylings of The Baron and Missy’s Misadventures.
Australian musician Stoneking describes his music as a “mix of 1920’s and 30’s blues, jazz and 1930’s Trinidad music”. He plays a resonating guitar and a tenor banjo, whilst his band, the Primitive Horn Orchestra, features brass, double bass, harmonium and even African percussion amongst others.
Stoneking’s raspy voice tells tales of love, murder, the Devil, and –in true folk tradition – being shipwrecked. His storytelling is simple yet pays homage to the bluesy traditions of yesteryear; just listen to Jailhouse Blues for instance, or the lyrics to Love Me or Die - “against a Jungle primeval green, she had the looks of a beauty queen…”
Having lived in Africa and Trinidad (where he worked as a hoodoo doctor’s assistant) it’s no wonder he wears his influences on his sleeve. Despite how uncommercial his music should be in this day and age he has played sold out headline shows in his native Australia and toured extensively through Europe, as well as winning a host of Australian awards for his albums King Hokum and Jungle Blues in 2007 and 2009 respectively.
Now he is bringing his brand of blues to the UK, where audiences will decide for themselves whether praise is due for resurrecting ‘old’ music or whether the nostalgia should remain firmly locked away in the record box. “That’s why I like that old music” he says, “it doesn’t sound old to me”.
Catch C.W. Stoneking, Mr. Flay and Deville, and The Baron and Missy’s Misadventures at an evening compered by Des O’Connor on Saturday May 15th at Last Days of Decadence, 145 Shoreditch High Street E1 6JE, from 8pm to 2.30am. Early bird tickets are £7, for more info visit www.thelastdaysofdecadence.com