Seeing The Dirty Strangers again seemed like the perfect way to spend Good Friday or the first day of Passover, as we didn't go to a seder night till the second night this year. Yes I seem to see this band rather regularly but well they are always worth seeing so why not.
This time around the support was from The Troubled Bones who are 4 familiar looking musicians, who I may or may not have seen playing previously in other bands, but I guess that I have even if it has been a decade or two for at least one of them.
They opened with a very Link Wray style instrumental that rumbled along nicely, the next song was Psychosis that has the rather dapper looking Martin Chamarette to step up to the mic and start howling about his Psychosis at us like he's about to lose the plot.
Ma Cherie was less frenetic and is obviously trying to pull on our heartstrings a lot more before they upped the insanity while singing and yelping about how You Lost Your Mind, and we may have done playing a game of figuring out what bands we knew these guys from or in the case of the drummer why I recognized his other half while they played decent and efficient garage rock.
The songs sadly started to blend into one a bit until they did a song that liberally stole from the Stooges Gimme Danger while they kept telling us to Go Away. Too Late Too Bad seemed to be an almost anthem in the making with a bit more force to it and as for This Town Is Trouble or whatever it was called that one got my attention again.
Then during the instrumental break on She's A Mystery Martin came out into the audience and chose to sit down next to me, thankfully not right on my note book and it was cool to say hello mid song so to speak. They closed with what I guessed was I Don't Care and it was clear they do actually care about trying to put on a good show. They were ok as a support band.
Soon enough it was once again time for The Dirty Strangers who almost as ever these days have a different lead guitarist to the last time I saw them, so Timo Kaltio has been replaced by Dave Bucket Colwith, who I have to admit I only really know as a bloke I've talked to at parties 3 or 4 times. I still remember the first time being introduced to him and he says he's called Bucket and he's a guitarist so I had to ask who he played for, and when he said Bad Company mainly I had to lift my jaw off the floor. At one of those parties having said I was a reviewer I may have promised a review well now about 4 or 5 years later I can deliver on that. Well once he joins the band at least.
As usual they open up as a 3 piece even though long-time keyboards player Scottie Mulvey is now well enough again to be in the audience he's still not back on stage just yet so it's Cliff Wright on Bass, Lol Fox On Drums and the inimitable Alan Clayton on Guitar and vocals.
They opened with Special Girl that set the tone nicely it was full of the sort of cheeky lyrics and good times rock and roll that are The Dirty Strangers calling card. As ever Alan is in need of a Girlfriend or two while singing Here She Comes you know strolling down the Old Brompton Road.
Then nice and early in the set Bucket joined them on stage as Alan had a few things he needed to say on Talk To Me that needed Buckets guitar and damn the first solo he played was just spot on a great wailing blast that was nicely economical too.
They then played a song I can't remember hearing them do before Who Blew The Whistle that was an angry song about a grass with some really tight guitar work from Bucket as his guitar meshed with Alan's.
Are You Satisfied was next and unlike with Timo this was note perfect with no weird glances just cheeky grins and nods at how good it sounded and Bucket sounded like he really knew the songs and wasn't guessing at them like Timo seemed too.
As ever most of the audience are Easy To Please and The Dirty Strangers as usual pleased us all singing this classic. Liberty Smile flew by with a wink and a nod and good use of the pedal board by Bucket.
They paid tribute to the late great Bernie Torme one of the bands many ex-guitarists and producers with the first song he recorded with them TTTTTrouble man and both Bucket and Alan tried to get close to Bernie's monster sound It was good and punchy.
OK I claim the next song was Baby but know I may have got it mixed up like normal as let's face it Alan always likes calling his Girls Baby it had all the sultry swagger it needed, as did a ferocious version of Diamonds that had plenty of us singing along to it.
Alan seemed to apologize that he's gone over to the other side and now lives South Of The River, how could he, what is the world coming too etc before they blasted through South Of The River like they are being chased all over Clapham and Brixton late at night.
It was time to ask everyone in the place to put there Hands Up no it wasn't a robbery more like a ram raid of a tune with another good lesson at the core of the lyrics.
As it's a bank holiday weekend we should all be going in search of some Bathing Belles and they obliged with a version full of nods and winks and salacious little licks and strutting bass.
They then played a song from one of the other bands Bucket plays in Humble Pie that let them rip through Natural Born Boogie that was a perfect Friday night sing along tune with some incredible guitar work from Bucket as we all sang along to the chorus.
I think they all looked North West about a mile or so on Shepherds Bush City Limits as that might get them just within the limits as the Nutbush rework dazzled like normal on this wonderful homage to W12 of old. By now most of us were ready to sing along to Gold Cortina once more and almost wished we had one to drive home in afterwards although it's a lot less fun these days as you can no longer roar along The Westway doing 80 late at night mores the pity.
They finished the night by ripping through Ain't Nothing But A House Party like they want to be J Geils Band but without the scarves and to be honest whenever the Dirty Strangers play it is just that a great fun party where you never know who the next great guitarist will be to get up and play with them.