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Letchworth it. The gig after a weekender like the Rockabilly Rave is always difficult to choose, after all, we’d been spoiled with some of the best music the scene could offer over four days the previous week. So step forward DJ Domino, Mr Nigel Babb, putting on another blue chip gig following the massive success of Phil Haley last time out. This time, a Friday night presentation of the Jets, with Simon Tugwell joining Domino on the decks.
The perfect choice, especially for the headcount of well over 160, from near and far who made the trip to the Jackman’s Community Centre in Herts. Cracking selection from the decks by both DJs, and a responding audience filled the dancefloor.
The Jets played two sets, with the music tailored perfectly to the cross section of the audience, opening up with the powerhouse Rockabilly anthem, ‘Rockabilly Boogie’. There’s no better Burnette voice around just now, than Bob Cotton peeps, that is all. The strobe lights flashed as ‘Yes Tonight Josephine’ rattled out, still sounding fresh every time and immensely popular with crowds.
So much good stuff within the two sets. I don’t know if anyone else takes on the Southlanders ‘Penny Loafers and Bobby Socks’, but I don’t reckon you’ll hear a better version. Then there’s the corking take of Herschel Almond’s ‘Let’s Get It On’, and a change of tempo with ‘Talk All Night’. It’s almost mandatory now to hear ‘Millionaire Hobo’, simply super stuff.
Naturally, the ‘other’ gimmie is ‘Love Makes the World Go Round’, which along with ‘Heartbreaker’, ‘Razor Alley’ and all the other cracking tracks, remind you of just how good the Jets are.
Big up to Domino for this club, which appears to be going from strength to strength, and long may it continue
DJ’s for the night were Andy AV8 Garner and Slim Boy, alternating through the evening. It doesn’t take long to fill this floor, with loads of couples out right from the start. There’s a variation of music, mainly jive and stroll early doors, that pretty much suits everyone’s tastes, including some cracking R&B sounds.
The band played two sets of jumping R&B, roots of Rock n Roll music and some piano driven boogie woogie. The four piece have authentic handles they use instead of (their)genuine names Slim D. Ville, Proseco George, The Preacher Man, 'Wild' Bill Renwick. Together, they produce a sound that is both catchy and infectious, and tailored to the audience perfectly. Think that chunka chunka sound from the guitar and bass, you might have the picture.
A lot of their material is original, ‘Flat Tyre Groove’, ‘Hot Foam Shave’, ‘Get Your Business Straight’ set the pace, while ‘Stomp the Boogie’ really did just that. As the temperature rose in the hall, and the aircon machines going balls out, the guys were relentless with ‘You Don’t Mean Much To Me’ and ‘T-Model Boogie.
The second set revved up after some cool vibes from the decks, with the popular ‘Beat Me Daddy’ opening the proceedings. Loved the titles ‘Pig’s Knuckle Soup’, ‘Monkey Shoulder’ and the wonderful ‘Bottom Shelf Bourbon Meltdown’ . ‘Shake That Boogie Baby’ closed the show before the inevitable and deserved encore of ‘Whip It Up Mama’ and ‘My Baby Loves To Rock n Roll’.
It was then left to Andy AV8 to drag himself off the dancefloor and back behind the decks to play the evening out with some kicking Rock n Roll and Rockabilly for the die hards and stop outs.
Massively enjoyable evening in Suffolk. The museum that is part of the buildings you walk through to get to the hall, is well worth a visit and the history is fascinating. Check listings for details of their next gig, it’s all ticket and sells out pretty quickly.
Crawdad do right. One last shout out, and that is for the Crawdad Hole in Southend and Andy Robinson's Record Hop. I used to go to the Queens Hotel in the town as a teenager to record hops and the like, and with Andy's selection, it was like stepping back to those days. Check him out on Facebook, the Hole is on, first Friday of the month
Last call for Rock Ridge Rumble in the North East of England at the beginning of August, right around the time I'll be writing the next blog!
I know it's hard to think about frost and dark nights in November, but check out the Rhythm Riot line up for this year
And one for next year, Southport Rumble is a new Rock n Roll/Rockabilly weekender held at Pontins, Southport. Headlining is an exclusive appearance of RCA recording artist, flying in from USA for this gig only, Robert Gordon. And a stellar line up in support too
Click on the flyers for detials
Shake Rattle and Roll have their line up partially confirmed for next year, their 17th, in Great Yarmouth, while the new kid on the block, Hot Rock and Boogie in Lincolnshire has already got their acts confirmed for next year. Oh and there's Humdinger, the newest Jump Jive and R&B weekender, and a cool vibe promised.
That does it for this month folks, I've got "a stack of records here, a stack of records there, I've got records scattered all over everywhere" to review, all of which will appear on the site soon
Cheers 'til then