Hot off the Press

LIVE! | The Blueberries

by Alissa Ordabai
Staff Writer —

April 5, 2012 at Purple Turtle in London, U.K.

Keeping in step with the perpetually changing underground rock scene, the famous Purple Turtle bar in London’s Camden Town is now hosting a radically different breed of rock star candidates compared to 5 or even 2 years ago. Jumpy nu-metalheads of the turn of the millennium are obviously ancient history now, but also gone are the sleazy glam metal revivalists of who flooded the place from 2003 to 2008, and even the blues-rock traditionalists of some 2 years ago are now nowhere to be seen. Enter bands like the Blueberries – a pan-European outfit barely out of their teens who came to London from their native countries of Greece, France, and Spain, hooked up with some local aspirants, and are now bidding to conquer the European capital of rock with their mix bag of styles ranging from classic rock to punk.

A heady, at times rudderless mixture of simplistic guitar, dancing drums, neat bass, and the front man who channels echoes of Keith Relf, Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison through the distortions and transfiguration’s of the time continuum, the biggest draw of this act is still not their well-picked influences, but how these boys use them to convey modern-day realities. Unabashed by their uncomplicated chops and the transparency of their sources, they still – amazingly – are coming through fresh and original, at times brazenly artless, at times deliberately minimalist, and at times swaggeringly crafty when they hit the right balance between the simple musicianship, the catchy tune-craft and the audacious message.

A lot of what the Blueberries do is propelled by the early Sixties British rock (from the drummer’s Keith Moon-esque swaggering flamboyance to the singer’s shouty vocals a la Keith Relf), as well as to punk with all the clangy riffing and repeat-until-you-drop rhythms. But the instantly recognizable references help more than they hinder, flinging the door wide open for an as diverse an audience as possible. Plus despite all the nods to the past there is still something about the Blueberries which defies classification – their own brand of unselfconscious insolence so organic and natural, you keep wondering if it’s not the next generation of rock stars starting at you from the PT’s compact stage when they launch with footloose abandon into one tune after another – a mix of the old, the timeless, and the personal delivered with the biggest “don’t-give-a-damn” attitude this side of la Manche. You can write it down to the band’s young age, but it also could well be the sound of a new generation which is just starting to spread its wings.

Photos appear courtesy of Alissa Ordabai