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KIDP presents


Club 77

77 King William St. Hamilton


On sale Saturday June 25

Support TBA

Doors @ 8pm

Featuring Gordie Johnson, Big Ben Richardson, Chris "Whip" Layton


Canadian guitarist Grady Johnson from the original Alterna Blues band Big Sugar, the monolithic Big Ben Richardson from London, England on bass, and former South Texas surfer and drummer for Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Arc Angels, Chris “Whip” Layton have created a sound equal parts Gospel Revival and Satanic Ritual.

With Whip as tour guide, the three have quenched their greed for speed in every manner of biker bar, honky tonk, even skateboard park in Central Texas, and loud? Shit Yeah!!!

Plus they have style. Grady Johnson may look like a country gentleman in a Hugo Boss suit and Stetson hat, but he plays guitar like a coyote caught in a leg trap. Did I mention that Big Ben is twice the size of your average utility grade bass player?

Their live show is spontaneous subsonic combustion that swerves between punk rock agro and field holler hypnosis. With guitars tuned down to the key of aaaggghhh, plaintive cattle call vocals and an unrelenting one chord stomp, it is little wonder that the music conjures up images of the damned and the sanctified.

This is some badass shit!!!!

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Badass shit is right! Nice work, briguy.

I was at the gig where these three first got together, and it was incredible. Have the recording, three discs, if anybody is interested. I guess Gordie has been friendly with Whipper and Tommy Shannon for a number of years, he was on the Stevie Ray tribute record in the late 90's and all. Big Ben played with the Phantoms of course, and was doing sound for Big Sugar for pretty much their final two or three years. Gordie and Ben would do these one-off gigs at Grossman's on Spadina in Toronto (did one or two at Healey's as well), call the band Big Ben, and play with whichever drummer was available at the time. The first few were with Al Cross, I saw at least three with Eric Paul, one or two with Nick DeTorro. Johnson's main focus was clear: to play a night of blistering, jammed-out riffs that were a return to the 500 Lbs album, as opposed to the somewhat slick radio act Big Sugar had morphed into. There was no rehearsal, these were all-out jams in front of whoever happened to get word to show up.

So the story goes that Whipper was in town to play a session, and Gordie just casually asks if he wants to jam, and Whipper says 'sure'. They get themselves into Grossman's a couple nights later, and only upon showing up does Whipper realize they're directly across the street from the El Mocambo, where he played with Stevie Ray one night in 1983, when CityTV cameras happened to be rolling, capturing a firey performance from the then-young trio from Austin (later spawning the incredible SRV home video/DVD Live at the El Mocambo). I get an e-mail saying "Gordie and Ben are jamming at Grossman's tonight, can't tell you who the drummer is but just fucking BE THERE." Next item in my inbox is from Ben's mailing list "Hey everybody, Gordie and I will be jamming with none other than Chris 'Whipper' Layton at Grossman's tonight, so everybody come on out!" Man was it a fun time. Gordie was always much humbler, softer-spoken at these gigs than with Big Sugar. He would take a moment to introduce the band and always introduced himself as Grady Johnson (hence the new band moniker). He would point to Ben and say "...and please give it up for your gracious host, our fearless leader Big Ben!" to which the crowd would always respond "SHIT YEAH!"

Anyway it looks like things have worked out for these cats. Was trying to find some pics of that original gig, to no avail. In place of that, how about this cut from that first show: listen as this sickatating trio tears Clapton's Motherless Children a new bloody asshole, then hammers down Big Sugar's Goodbye Train like they've been doing 15 hour shifts at Hilton Works. Good lord, if you're into the hard, heavy blues, this show is for you and your grandkids; they'll feel it in their goddamn bones long after you're gone, I tell you.

Grady - Motherless Children

Grady - Goodbye Train

From 2003-03-20 at Grossman's Tavern, Toronto

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I love Grossman's.

It's a freaking dive, but one with character and full of characters. I've seen many a great gig there.

I'm loving the Grady download right now. I was aware of these boys a year or so ago. I hope to catch them soon, although I won't be there in the Hammer.

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