"The night was buzzing when Hollywood Slim and the
Fat Cats took to the stage and captured the atmosphere perfectly with
a brilliant superlative performance. A multi-talented foursome dressed
in Hawaiian shirts bringing sunshine on a cloudy day with a professional
tightness that deserves to prosper.
Hollywood Slim takes the stage with a authoritative long lean stage strolling swagger from the get go, and works the awe-dience like a Deep South preacher with his deep coffee baritone resonance. The Reverend Hollywood Slim's irrepressible looning and front man peachiness along with the Fat Cats smooth instrumental proficiency results in a set that consistently created an extra magical flair on stage and a warmth of enthusiasm and awe-dience involvement in JJ Smyth's.
Hollywood Slim has charisma and his rappy half inflected monologue and swing draws and grabs the attention of the camera phones in the crowd managing to imbue the blues with a good humoured cheekiness between the flashes.
Papa Hynes on Drums is outstanding and doesn't miss a beat hitting everything into the pocket with effortless ease and his performance is a lesson in flair and economy and with Rev Priestly on a firm and powerful bass, the rhythm section is specifically interesting, fine and relaxed one minute, rhythmically strong and stabbingly percussive the next and glorious to listen to as they lay down the well manicured foundations of each song and set out the presentation for the notable and amazing crowd killing guitar work of Junior Hynes. Seek out this guy for yourselves all you blues guitar aficionados, he is a very accomplished player creating breath-taking textures that evoke a welcome insight into the swing styles of T Bone Walker, Louis Jordan and as demonstrated on the late Clarence Gatemouth Brown's "Okie Dokie Stomp" (1924-2005 died in Texas after fleeing his destroyed New Orleans home and taking shelter from Hurricane Katrina) and the appropriate updates along the way like the obvious ignition and possible mentor Hollywood Fats, always remaining engagingly ineffable and inexpressibly delightful.
One of the welcome Blues developments for me in recent years has been the structure and form the current Irish Blues Bands now bring to bear on stage, leaving behind the meandering and aimless virtuosity of the rock blues era, and putting on a show that is entertaining and spectacular with more density and cohesion in the set.
A Fender Strat magician Junior Hynes guitar style is stunning and reveals a variety of flavours in the Blues Ice Cream van, hitting the spot each time and delivering the goods with delicious samples of his talent. Taking classic Chicago blues phrases, hooks and licks and making them sound eternal and sophisticated with a fluency that swings sweet north, south, east, and west, without sacrificing any blue in a stylistic West Coast sound, using a capo to get plenty of open string smoothness, that complements the bands 70's California Swing Blues. The result is a cutting and uncluttered ambiance that has finesse, taste, and respect.
Modulating between crisp clean honeyed swing chording and some sweet mellifluous single and double stop bends and locked into the infectious impermeable rhythm section the songs rolled into the night positively steaming because these guys really do play well off each other.
Hollywood Slim has goofiness on stage that is a bull eye, bawdy, unpredictable and gets top score for his ability to create the sound of our favourite farmyard animals with his harmonica, which constantly surprises in its emphasis such as his cheeky and imaginative rendition of the Hucklebuck and a Hollywood Fats (1954-1986) gem called Red Headed Woman, which was a storming performance.
Steeped in tradition Hollywood Slim and the Fat Cats is pure old style swing blues with flair and energy to burn, tips it hi hat firmly in the direction of fun and pleasure and surely did bring sunshine on a rain dancers day."
By Mick Kenny