Trust Liverpool to have free music nights bursting from every nook and cranny, and no venue encapsulates this more than The Caledonia. This often overlooked pub is the perfect combination of ruggedness and intimacy to home real music, and no music suits it better than the bluesy rock of Dom Newton And The Walking Dead .
Opening track Got My Mojo Working is a slow burner; minimal background music allows for Newton’s voice to take centre stage and eases the less knowing into the wonderfully bizarre night ahead. Next track Undead Vampire Blues is the quintessential song for the whole night with its slow stomping beats and the random screams only serving to emphasise the gothic feel to the evening. The sultry feel that the gothic theme conjures is carried on songs littering the first half such as I’m In The Mood and Need Your Love So Bad with lyrics detailing sex, lust and darkness grabbing the audience’s attention. Whilst it certainly creates an atmosphere, it can begin to feel a bit repetitive, if only because all of these songs have been banded together in the admittedly warming up first half of the set. An ode to Newton’s mother, When Did You Leave Heaven?, follows all the debauchery and lightens the mood slightly before the band dive into their bluesy rendition of Velvet Underground classic, delivering with enough boldness and gusto to convince you it’s theirs.
A brief interlude filled by the brilliant bizarre Cabaret From The Shadows seems to last too long as the crowd itch for a return to the bluesy pysch music of the past hour. Whilst Cabaret are good and have the crowd in hysterics with their wacky ways, the underlying buzz soon surfaces as the band step back on the stage. The second half of the set is decidely more raucous and rambunctious than the first. Singing duties rest this time on Nick Fitzgerald’s shoulders and he does not disappoint, belting out tracks such as The Boogieman and Black Cat, the latter in particular is a highlight with the lyrics of heartbreak intertwined heavily with superstitions.
After four songs which seem to pass by too quickly, much like the night, Newton resumes singing duties, blasting through a further seven songs, each managing to work the crowd into more of a foot-stomping, hand-clapping frenzy despite the descent into darkness outside. The highlight of night is undoubtedly 1 Whiskey, 2 Whores, a song comprised of only Newton’s deep vocals, a harmonica and a drum yet that is all that is needed to transport you to New Orleans of the 1900s. Shake Your Money Maker rounds off the night perfectly, with the bands playing descending quickly into chaos as those watching join in in the frenzy.
Whether you love the blues or are just looking to benefit from the many musical treats that Liverpool has to offer, Blues Gumbo Yaya is definitely the night for you. I just pray that you prepare yourself for the hedonism the band will have in store for you.
Words by Clara Duffy