Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel Folk Band
JENNA CORDEROY: “Thoroughly entertaining, energetic, and ridiculously funny; you should try to catch Jeffrey Lewis and Peter Stampfel on their UK tour this year.”
Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel Folk Band:
The Haymakers, 19th January, £9.
When American anti-folk singer Jeffrey Lewis announced he was joining forces with 1960s psychedelic band The Holy Modal Rounders’ Peter Stampfel, fans could have predicted an eccentric and lively set of performances. Making a quick stop in a pub somewhere in Chesterton, the pair indeed had the audience in fits of laughter with their off-the-wall songs and bizarre anecdotes.
The first support act was Tom Conway who warmed the crowd up adequately with his modern country ditties in a deep, rich voice reminiscent of Johnny Cash. Armed with a list of songs containing ‘the same chords but with a different tempo’, Conway needed a slightly more varied set to keep the audience’s attention however. So next up was Cambridge’s own home-grown Model Village, who were a bit too mellow for my liking, and not the best at stage banter by anyone’s standards.
By the time the audience welcomed Jeffrey Lewis and special guest Franic Rozycki (The Wave Pictures) to the stage, they were in dire need of excitement. Boy did 73-year-old Peter Stampfel, leaping onto the stage and enthusiastically plucking his fiddle and waving his neon coloured bow in the air, provide it. Opening the show with an angry country folk song, it was clear that fun was about to begin as Peter cackled: “I’ve got a hangover/I feel like shit all over”.
After being subjected to what can only be called deranged howling in a song about spending a night at a waxwork museum, it became time for the audience to calm down (as well as old man Peter) with a litany of amusing anecdotes. Lewis spilled out his great admiration for Stampfel and his accomplishments in the 60s, whereas Stampfel preferred modesty: “I sucked like dead monkeys back then.”. A couple more anecdotes about Stampfel’s 12,000 bottle cap collection (“bottle caps are cool…no, actually, some of them are shitty”), it was back to the music with Whistle Past the Graveyard, the charming Don’t Be Upset, and the interestingly titled Black Leather Swamp Nazi.
An outrageous fiddle number brought the show to an end while the audience were pleading for more. Thoroughly entertaining, energetic, and ridiculously funny; you should try to catch Jeffrey Lewis and Peter Stampfel on their UK tour this year – you will not be disappointed.