Festival review: John Hunt Four O’Clock Afternoon Blues & Swing; The Jazz Bar (venue 57)

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THE MAN with the trilby, the Alfred E Neuman grin, and the guitar that looks as if it emerged from an explosion in a DIY warehouse, holds afternoon court at the Jazz Bar, dispensing down-and-dirty blues – not too much nuance or subtlety here, just howling slide and stomp.

Actually, he does have a second guitar, to which he switches after a while, made from papier-machéd copies of Melody Maker. He simply says it was the despair of his tutor at the London College of Furniture.

He’s a regular blues shouter, is Hunt, mainly performing his own songs, apart from a version of I’ve Got You Under My Skin, delivered in a growl over a gritty 12-bar drive. Elsewhere, he airs perennial blues preoccupations – problematic women (that is to say, smart ones), cars (big mobile home or white Rolls-Royce; in reality, he confesses, it was a beige Austin Maestro) and the odd roadrunner.

He tells us about a mysterious priest he encountered on one of the lesser-known Isles of Scilly, who tried – unsuccessfully – to baptise him, prompting a song which rather stands that old-time religion on its head, sermonised as it is with whumping bass strings.

Another stand-out number is his spooky blues take on the old folk trope of the “lover’s ghost”, evoked here in boogie form.

Rating: * * * *

Until 26 August. Friday 4pm.