Tuesday, April 26, 2011
I’m not sure how such events are curated anymore but whatever brought the Flamin Groovies in the form of The A-Bones + Ira Kaplan + Roy and Cyril to Le Beat Bespoke 7 is all that’s important. Quibbles about the sound notwithstanding, it was an occasion. Of course, audio quality isn’t everything but perhaps if the guy at the desk had spent less time checking his phone then maybe the necessary tweaks could have been addressed. There’s nothing this type of attention deficit could do to snuff out the humungous good vibe though. As the racket boomed around the gym hall style room there were plenty of satisfied grins across coruscating coupons (that’s faces to folks that don’t hark from around here). Young Nick West who sustained an ankle injury couldn’t be there and I think he bribed the gods into a little mischief.
From the opening rip through “Second Cousin”, this was a celebration of a great catalogue and some of the finest rock’n’roll songs ever written. Occupying a position that pre-dated tribal pigeonholes, the various forms the Groovies took over the years has percolated into the firmament. I can’t say how this stacked up against the Ponderosa Stomp reunions because I wasn’t there but there was one distinct difference that we’ll get to later for better or the flipside.
I’d never met Cyril before but what a top geezer and of course, gentleman Roy Loney has to be one of the most convivial blokes in the business. Perhaps that’s what has conspired to keep him from overground notoriety. More likely that it’s just a case of the public at large having no taste. And what can you say about the band that is to these guys what the Wondermints are to Brian Wilson although for my money, them A-Bones have dollups more juice in the spirit department in addition to the proficiency.
Apparently Cyril had said something on WFMU prior to this trip that he’d welcome Chris Wilson on stage in London. What's that one about careful what you wish for? As the day went on, it seemed like a rumour but sure enough – CW was outside the venue when we daundered in from across the road. So the prospect of him joining in for “Shake Some Action” seemed great, if nothing else for historic significance and the burying of hatchets. Reports that his performance was staggering aren’t totally unfounded but not in the jaw-dropping sense, more in the case that there’s a rogue “was” at the start of this sentence. Like the thing that wouldn’t leave, it could have been great if he hadn’t been completely pished.
In a grand display of patience and good humour, everyone else on stage worked around the intervention to make the best of the situation. So no time for “Jumpin’ In The Night” due to the curfew but I was able to jump on to the #27 bus (thanks Penny) that took me all the way to Chiswick. Like the song sez, “All’s well that ends well”. Just a tad too early was all. Maybe we can do it all again in Spain or something?
Please excuse the lack of photographic evidence. Some pillock (me) left his camera in the dressing room – known here as the board room – it’s safe though. Miriam has it so we’ll sort out the logistics of getting it back in due course and maybe adding some to this.
A final consideration then... No opening act other than one that is sanctioned by the headliner but preferably no support at all. As attention spans deteriorate and buffoons fanny about with phones this has to be a consideration surely. It’s also a facet of getting older. Having to bear – in the main – crap acts and stand about waiting while they “warm” up the crowd (not) is time consuming. And we’re all getting painfully aware of how precious that commodity is. How would lesser known quantities become known? That - my friend - is the dilemma of the person or unit, leave me the eff out (of it). What’s with a situation where a disco can blare out until the wee hours but a band can’t knock a few more tunes out?
The campaign for eradicating openers that offer bugger all to the party starts here. And it starts now. Of course, if there was some hike in the quality control then this edict could be re-evaluated.