Bob Log III Stands Alone

July 19th, 2010

Bob Log III – Mercury Lounge – July 18, 2010

Bob Log III made his entrance from the back of Mercury Lounge in his signature blue-and-gold velour jumpsuit wearing a metallic gold motorcycle helmet with a telephone receiver stuck to the front of the visor. Walking to the front of the stage slide-fingerpicking a hollow-body guitar as fast as humanly possible, he sat down to play a kick drum with one foot and a cymbal with the other. He stood and yelled, “Yeeeeaaaaaa!” at the audience at the end of his songs, telling the crowd he prefers “liquid applause”—drinks—passed to the front of the stage, “placed somewhere where I won’t kick them over.”

Bob Log III has been playing his unique kind of hybrid hyper blues since the early ’90s, in the form of his former band Doo Rag. Even then he’d play the cheapest-sounding loose-string guitars and would sing into a homemade microphone to organically distort the vocals, accompanied by reclaimed washboards, metal bins and cardboard boxes. He thrives on the anonymity of this Evel Knievel persona, and his performance is pure Americana: One part traveling street-corner bluesman, one part co(s)mic Sun Ra, born out of that DIY pioneer spirit to carve out his little niche in the world come hell or high water. He’s the sort of person who won’t ever be duplicated.

Bob Log III has the sheer charisma to summon women from the audience to sit on each knee as he stomps through another dirty slide-guitar blues tune, his instrument sounding more like a banjo in its frantic tempo. “I know what you’re thinking, New York…. ‘Bob, don’t you ever get lonely being a one-man band?’ Don’t you worry about me. I make friends everywhere I go.” You get the feeling he’s up there doing it alone partially because there’s no one who could keep up with him. Based on the collection of empty cups on stage, Bob Log III was greatly appreciated, as he played his way through the crowd and off into the hallway. —Jason Dean