The Jazz Bar is packed for this one, and no wonder: this is music you can’t help but tap your feet to. John Hunt comes on a few minutes early and chats to the crowd; he seems to capture the mood of this dark room – “The Jazz Bar is like a country, it has its own time-zone”. What Hunt offers us is a time-warp. He takes us back to the America and the music of Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf.
This show is a haven in a busy city centre. Catch it if you can.
John Hunt plays on homemade guitars and his music has a similar quality: rough verve-y plucking and a deep craggy voice that displays a surprising richness as the set goes on. The sight of these guitars alone might be worth the entry-price. The first looks like it’s been hacked out of a plank of driftwood and wired-up by a Robot Wars contender. The second is even more bizarre. It looks lovely, it’s thirty years old, and it’s made out of papier-mâché. Copies of Melody Maker magazine to be precise. Hunt says he needed a guitar, and all he had was copies of this magazine “filled with adverts for guitars I couldn’t afford”, so he decided to put it to work.
This dark wit is continues throughout the show. On a song dedicated to an elderly uncle who’s recently married, he sings “My woman loves me so much she feels the need to get a vicar involved… I love my woman so much I don’t really feel the need to get the government involved”. On another song dedicated to vinyl records, Hunt’s lyrics and riff get ‘stuck’ on repeat on the final refrain. He offers blues-ed up covers of Frank Sinatra, and jaunty songs about his car being stolen and priests drowning.
Hunt is engaging, makes the crowd laugh and above all plays good music. This show is a haven in a busy city centre. Catch it if you can.