When I was a kid my old man was what my mother would later refer to as “a boozer.” But my old man wasn’t the type who liked to drink at home. He liked to be out and about in the dingy blue collar town I had no choice but to be born and raised in. My old man would often drag me out with him for reasons I’ve just never really felt like asking the answers to. Needless to say I spent a ton of time in bars as a kid and later, following in my old man’s footsteps, on my own.
It was in many of these gritty and narrow wood paneled establishments that there was a small stage near the back of the place, or a small back room of the place where on many nights live bands of varying talents would play for a scattered crowd, myself among them.
The flashback above was jolted from the dark recesses of my brain by the Bedford ‘Outlaw Funk’ quartet Honest John after listening to their three song EP Blue Mantra. Honest John, honestly sound like a bluesy and boozy bar band who have an affinity for Cream.
This may not be evident on Blue Mantra’s slow post rock meets psych rock opener “Slow Honey.” I wanted it build into something, but it didn’t. I listened again and though I could see reasons it kept its composure. In the end it just seemed a bit flat, especially for an opening track. On a full length this could have been a great transition or beautiful filler, but to be put at the forefront of a three song EP made no sense to me.
I of course would have chosen the blues-funk deluge of “The Bluest Black” which highlights the skills of all four members. The funky and slap happy basslines drag you in while the blues-scat guitar riffs and overall funkability make you want to go back and listen again. The same can be said for the blues-funk fanaticism of “Altered States of Mind.”
Honest John are still a very young band, having formed only earlier this year but musically they sound like a band that has been together for years. This alone has me looking forward to the funky havoc the band could wreak on a proper full length. Until then I’ll be at the bar, waiting.
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