The night didn’t start too well when we had to teach the barman how to pour a pint of real ale out of the hand pump. But the service, very much like the gig, improved dramatically over the next few hours.
This was my debut at Nambucca. Housed in a big old Victorian boozer on the Holloway Road, the venue itself occupies an enlarged cupboard at the back. Perfect for cosy gigs.
Slydigs were up first. This fourpiece from Warrington have their image and sound rooted in a late 60’s rock n roll/blues niche. Dean Fairhurst on lead vocals and guitar has a confident swagger and more than a passing resemblance to Tony Booth circa ‘Til Death Us Do Part’. No sign of Una Stubbs on backing vocals though. The band served up a couple of encouragingly catchy slices of pop-rock in the shape of ‘Electric Love’ and ‘The Love That Keeps On Giving’, with guitarist Louis Menguy creating a rich and full lead break sound.
Their entourage of WAGs, stage left, were doing a good job of throwing some shapes and making some noise. But in truth, this wasn’t Slydigs’ audience tonight. Newer material like ‘Bang Bang and My Bullet Was Gone’ didn’t work and the atmosphere was a bit flat. Much to the irritation of Fairhurst who threw a few sarcastic words towards the punters. Never a great idea.
By the time The Crunch hit the stage, the beer was flowing nicely and everything was well with the world. The cupboard had filled up with a decent sized, expectant crowd.
They were not disappointed. The Crunch came out snarling with ‘Busy Making Noise’, title track from the new album and used every last minute of their collective 120-odd years of rock n roll experience to make this an intimate yet dynamic experience.
Those years of service have played out very differently in their individual demeanour. Sulo (Diamond Dogs) on lead vocals and guitars is the archetypal rock/punk front man with jet black mop-top haircut, lived in face and unnerving, staring eyes. He fixed every one of the audience with his searching gaze whilst doing proper justice to most of the power pop content of the new album.
Dave Tregunna (Sham 69, Lords of the New Church) at Sulo’s right elbow wielded and strutted the bass with aplomb and is cut from the same cloth as the front man. But take Mick Geggus on lead guitar. A different style altogether for the Cockney Rejects man. Basketball vest, baseball hat, shades and jogging bottoms. Tatts on display and guitar slung lower than a viper’s belly. The chin juts out just a little further with each power chord.
Then tucked away at the back, pumping out metronomic time, is Terry Chimes. Or Tory Crimes as the credit ran on The Clash’s legendary debut album. Slim, tidily attired and neatly coiffed, Terry could be the accountant. In fact he’s a chiropractor. Really. Post Clash and in between stints with Hanoi Rocks and Black Sabbath, Terry has developed a successful practice in Essex.
Live, the straight-forward, three-minute powerpacks of the studio album take on a harder edge. ‘Gangster Radio’, surely an homage to The Clash’s ‘Capital Radio’ rips along on a tide of gravelly guitar nostalgia, and ‘Down By The Border’, the first single, is smashed out with the minimum of fuss.
The keyboards and backing vocals come to the fore on some of the more pop influenced tracks like ‘Fire Again’ and the soaring, finely constructed ballad ‘Yesterdays Boys and Girls’. There is some neat interplay between Mick and Idde Shultz on keyboards. Idde steps up front and centre with Sulo for the girl meets boy duet ‘A Little Bit of Grace’. It’s a strong song, but lost a little impact live as Sulo was too busy eye-balling the crowd rather than working his dialogue with Idde.
Dave got a moment in the spotlight for an excellent, adrenaline fuelled barge through ‘Russian Roulette’ from his Lords of the New Church days. This succeeded in cranking up the temperature or notch or two more and scenes of mild pogo-ing and chicken dancing were spotted down the front.
The gig built to a thrilling climax with an encore of the excellent rocker ‘Runaway Son’, and an emotional, riotous ‘Garageland’ from Terry’s days with The Clash as a set closer. There was nowhere to go after that and the band departed in triumph.
Review by Dave Atkinson
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 21 February, 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT
More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.
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Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)
Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights
ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter
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