Dan Sartain: The Harrison, King’s Cross, London: Sunday March 5

Skinny Elvis, Mini Johnny Cash? Hold onto your tumbleweeds, Sartain’s in town

Dan Sartain
Did you guys not get the memo?” drawls the bastard child of Bruce Lee and Johnny Cash, Alabama’s very own pint-sized rock’n’roll dervish, Dan Sartain. “It’s casual Sunday, guys!” he grins, which goes some way to explaining why today he’s decked out in old trousers and a battered T-shirt with a print of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s mugshot on it, instead of his usual slick 1950s army gear and leathers. Today his fringe flops over his eyes instead of being gelled up on top of his head in an almighty quiff, but he’s still punker than The Clash and more stylish than all of Franz put together. It may only be the afternoon, but Sartain, a whiskey in hand and a big dumb grin on his face, has come to rock the socks off the assembled long-haired crowd munching on vegan roast dinners.

Crashing into the saucy punk rock samba of ‘Walk Among The Cobras Part 1’ he’s suddenly no longer in a busy London pub, but transported to somewhere in the Mexican desert, surrounded by threatening-looking cacti, bandits with flick knives and the biggest bottle of tequila you’ve ever seen. It’s rockabilly, but not as you know it. When he’s not singing in his Southern man twang, he’s pulling inane faces and pinging his head back from his guitar like a rock ninja and chuckling knowingly to himself. ‘PCB 98’ is the undoubted highlight, a blues-sodden trip that’s sharper than a flick knife, just as dangerous but lots more fun, and, y’know, legal. He even throws in a knowing cover of Spanish classic ‘Bésame Mucho’ which shows he can do pure latino just as well as his own fired-up, ballsy clatter-shot version that has the indoor temperature rising to equatorial levels with the girls swooning and the boys wondering why they’re nowhere near as suave as Sartain.

He downs the drink resting on his stool and with a cheery wave he’s done and dusted, looking like Elvis before the pies and pills. A rock’n’roll legend.

Leonie Cooper

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