The first thing Paul Major says when Endless Boogie shuffle onstage is, “This is the last song of the night.” Droll joke, it seems. But 35 minutes later, as the band come to a juddering halt and ponder whether to attempt an encore, it turns out to have been true. One song, infinite possibilities.
It is, maybe, a case of the New York band heroically living up to the promise of their name. But actually, Endless Boogie don’t boogie so much through the evolving jam that makes up the bulk of this awesome Club Uncut show. Instead of the choogle we usually associate with them, tonight’s session is rooted in a kind of solid state thrum; a bouncing Dingerbeat, locked-on bass and rhythm guitar that cumulatively create something closer in spirit to the likes of Suicide and Spacemen 3 than the Quo-ish bands with whom Endless Boogie are often bracketed.
Over the top of this, Major’s fervid, needling soloing is a revelation, as the pacing ducks and dives, and fragments of recognisable tracks emerge out of the jam: for example a lyrical snatch of “A Life Worth Leaving”, the behemoth that closes their forthcoming second album, “Full House Head” (which I previewed here last week).
The psychedelic relentlessness of it all identifies Endless Boogie as very much fellow travellers with Wooden Shjips, more men of a certain age who have found a trancey new delivery system for classic rock tropes. But if that suggests a detached, cerebral approach, the reality is much more physical and ecstatic.
When it finally ends, Major and his bandmates appear conceptually befuddled by the idea of an encore. “Usually,” he says, “we can only do one in a row.” But soon enough, they’re off again, with a ferocious psych blues that invokes Hendrix, ZZ Top and Loop, and wraps up after a disappointingly pithy ten minutes. Endless Boogie are apparently playing downstairs at the Garage tonight, supporting Mission Of Burma, and on Monday at the Macbeth, as well as Pavement’s ATP this weekend. Once again, I can’t recommend one of the world’s great unheralded rock bands enough.
Recommendation, too, for Hush Arbors, tonight’s opener. Keith Wood plays a good part of his set solo and acoustic this time round, joined after a while by a female harmony singer. I’ve written about Wood’s music a few times (this link, to a piece about last year’s “Yankee Reality”, leads on to some other things), and it’s apparent that his unshowy craftsmanship is going from strength to strength; especially pointed up by the minimal, Neil Young vibes of this set. Special love for “Fast Asleep”, but it’s all good.