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Review: 'The Primevals, Witchdoktors, DC Spectres'
'Live at Rockaway Beach at the Hope And Anchor'   

-  Album: 'Uppers Street Islington'
-  Genre: 'Punk/New Wave' -  Release Date: '17.11.18.'

Our Rating:
This was the 31st Rockaway Beach club night and another great triple bill that allowed me to see The Primevals once again for the first time in over 30 years as I have vague memories of seeing them I think twice, once for certain at The Mean Fiddler In Harlesden at a gig that may or may not have been with The Playn Jayn and another one possibly at the Sir George Robey or the Powerhaus in Islington but that is back in the mist of time.

I am dedicating this review to the memory of The Primevals old Label boss at New Rose Records Patrick Mathe who I heard died over the weekend a true great of the music industry he will be much missed by anyone who has enjoyed the records he put out over the years or ever visited his record shop in Paris.

We arrived with perfect timing getting through the door just as Timmy Drella was introducing The DC Spectres to the stage and I have to say when we put our coats into the cloak room we were charged the quite wonderful price of a half of Cider which really is the best priced cloakroom anywhere, I wish I could remember the name of the band the woman behind the jump said she was in.

So back to The DC Spectres who are a garage rock trio featuring a female stand up drummer in the Moe Tucker tradition and they played nice speedy songs from the opener about going Through The Door I haven't a clue what the songs are called unless they introduced them, but they sounded good and were mainly from the bands two albums.

Mirror Mirror didn't have too much of a Cinderella feel to it as it was far too pacey for that and I guess if they actually had a Time Machine it would be set for about 1976 or so with a bit of a Ramones feel to it as do most of the bands songs.

They dedicated Sonny Vincent Knows to the great guitarist who has been suffering some really hard times since being involved in a horrific accident with his family a couple of years ago, hard to believe it's 28 years since I saw him play at the other end of Upper Street with Moe Tucker. The song was a great tribute.

They were then going on about the Purple Sky and I think they actually had purple stage lights for that one as they rampaged through the next song about If You Only Had time before they accused someone of being a Fucking Weirdo which was probably most of the audience as they played a quite Link Wray type Instrumental that went into a song about the Son Of Rock that had a bit of a Robert Gordon feel to it.

Then it was time for them to be Putting The Move On to the bands next object of desire it was a great slice of garage rock and they then had time for two swift songs the first of which I have no clue what it's called even if they did introduce it properly but they finished with a brief and frantic blast through Primitive a song that's a good description of the bands primitive garage rock sound a good fun set.

Next on and with a new line-up since I last saw them are Witchdoktors who even with a new line-up sound exactly like they always have as a super tight super high octane garage punk band right from the opening blast of Movie Star thankfully nothing much has changed and Planet Andy was in great form all night.

Yes he wanted us to Tie Him Up In Chains I'm sure we could have found a volunteer or two, No Pain No Gain sounded as great as it always does live a great sing along romp that was followed by a fast and furious Jackhammer that had the new bassist Lee doing everything he could to keep up with this speedy band.

New Set Of Wheels sounded like they were doing Handbrake turns up and down Upper st before Planet Andy started getting his Big Black Sack out so you can put all the rubbish music in it and let us carry on listening to great urgent garage punk like this as it broke down in the middle with a nice dubby version of Guns Of Brixton before a good rave up ending of Big Black Sack.

They then played the title track from the latest album Voodoo Eye and it sounded great with a good sing along chorus and rumbling beat. I'm Sick kept things good and pacey and had some harmonica on it if I'm reading my notes correctly.

Andy sounded as angry as he could on I Told You To Go and well you'd be stupid to stay after that message and to celebrate her leaving Andy then went out and got a New Tattoo that was played at breakneck speed as Tony and Andy swapped glances and ever speedy licks on their guitars.

They closed almost as normal with Common Prayer (For A Working Man) that is always a good way to close the set and as ever they left us wanting more as they are still one of the best live Garage rock bands around.

Then after the break it was time for The Primevals who appeared to be playing with the bands classic 6 piece line-up but I'm no expert and as they rarely introduced any songs I'm guessing what they played, however from the opener they really sounded great as a garage punk band floating on A Pink Cloud with some good keyboards on it.

Then after a brief hello Michael Rooney was singing about a Fading Star as the guitars really gave it a proper garage rock sound. The next song had some good lyrics about love going not quite to plan as they wondered how you might Try And Change It.

One of the high spots of the set for me was Baby You’re So Extra that seemed to have well some extra intensity in the vocals and the guitars. As Michael sang about having Flesh to Burn the band seemed to sizzle a little bit before they went Down Down Down and not in a Status Quo fashion.

They then got properly Glaswegian Christian on Spiritual as they talked about the bible and other important stuff while doing the bands best dad dancing. The next song had a lot of Ba ba ba's on it for us to sing along to even if we didn't know the song.

As Michael was singing about Dislocation the keyboards seemed to be anything but dislocated from the core of the band's sound. Drip Drip went one of the other highlights of the set and no matter how much the lyrics went Drip Drip the music was rock solid dark garage rock.

They closed with I Got Strong or at least a song about getting strong and this was a strong performance no doubt about it. Of course they had done more than enough to deserve an encore.

The encore opened with a song about someone's Sister that kept up the cool garage rock before they finished with a cool version of Saint Jack that rounded things off nicely and I hope it doesn't take me another 30 years to see The Primevals play live again.

Oh and as ever thanks to Timmy Drella and the crew for putting on one of London's coolest regular club nights.

  author: simonovitch

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