Vigilant visitors to The Fountain may have registered my interest in loud electric guitars. Nobody does loud guitars better than occasional geniuses Los Supremos – the best bar band in Britain.
I’m not talking about the twiddley-widdley, oh-so-clever, wanton wanking of your standard issue, black t-shirted, lank-haired plank-spanker who thinks technique is more important than tunes (music as masturbation only really appeals to other wankers). Nah, I’m talking about getting a really thorough rattle, from a band that’s been around the block a few times. Quality not quantity. Taste not speed. The sort of tantric twanging that will make you want to take up smoking again.
Perth-based Los Supremos are a band built around two extraordinary strummers of a certain age, with pedigrees as session players here and in the US. Their Calvin Klein contracts may have elapsed but they give good solo. Bert Bertram is a larger than life mountain man who occasionally strays down from the hills to remind the city folk how a gentleman should behave. He wears his blue Telecaster like a toy, high on his chest, and when he squeezes it beautiful noises pop out. Stuart Nisbet is a road-hardened curmudgeon who plays guitar like a gunslinger but reacts like a child blowing bubbles – surprised and gleeful. His Telecaster is the colour of butter. He strokes, persuades, and throttles it but only elegant flurries are released. The rhythm section personnel vary (sometimes Nico Bruce, but last night it was Pete Honeyman with Matt Roger) but invariably they are rock solid – De Beers have expressed an interest.
There is very little banter. just quality music played for the sheer joy of it. They play covers (extremely well) of classic R’n’B, country and rock, from The Band to Primal Scream, via Elvis, Springsteen, Otis, and anything else that takes their fancy: I first saw them just after Prince had died. They played When Doves Cry and everybody danced, then Purple Rain and everybody cried.
Los Supremos are not unusual or groundbreaking, just very high quality. They don’t play often (usually in Perthshire) but if you like guitars and can track them down, you’re in for a long, loud and satisfying knee-trembler.