Boppin the Blues, there’s a club readers, that we have had in our sights to visit for ages. But every time the Hersham, Surrey, based club put on an event, something got in the way for us. With one of our favourite bands, the Blueflames, announced as the turn on in early April, we made sure we got our tickets when they were released. Such is the popularity of this club, the tickets sold out in fashion akin to Take That concerts, with a considerable waiting list for cancellations apparently.
Anyone around our age, will recall the most famous thing about Hersham we knew, was the ‘laced up boots and corduroys’ that those naughty punky fellows used to shout in our faces. Quite a paradox that such an affluent area, gave rise to a successful, anti-establishment band like Sham 69. Enough about punk, before I’m lambasted on Facebook, with my virtual bum in a sling.
Finding the venue, easy, getting in, easy with a well organised method of checking off your names against ticket purchases, and phone screen grabs (for those with such devices. It’s not just me who looks like I’m from the ‘50’s, so does my mobile!). The actual hall is half seating, half dancefloor, and with the numbers in, just right. Yes it’s a club with a kick-arse atmosphere and two DJs, Trev Collins and Steve Grinster on good form.
The Blueflames, down from Derby, were apparently playing in the south for the first time in six years, long overdue methinks. Sounding a little more ‘electric’ to me, they hit the ground running in their single set with ‘Mean Little Mama’. Their style is kind of a melting pot of early Rockin’ Blues, the likes of Papa Lightfoot’s ‘Mean Ol Train’ from ’54 and ‘Cat Squirrel’ from Dr Ross in the early 60’s. They mix Vince Taylor’s ‘Brand New Cadillac’ with Rufus Thomas’ ‘Bearcat’, the Jades ‘Blue Black Hair’ from ’64 with ‘Ride and Roll’ from ’56.
With just the one set, it seemed over well sharpish, and they were called back for their own composition ‘Time’ and again with a searing version of Gene Vincent’s now dance floor classic ‘Bird Doggin’. Really enjoyed visiting this club, a cool vibe mixed with some hot tracks.
The only disappointment for all concerned, must have been the light headcount, I mean, this isn’t a half arsed, matching shirt brigade, trotting out the done-to-death playlists of Rock n Roll boredom. No, this is a Wild Records recording band, that write their own material, and as we all saw, turn out top shows.
They opened up their first set with ‘Guitar Picker’ which kind of introduced Barny, who then launched himself, quite literally, into ‘Young and Wild’. With frantic strumming of his rhythm guitar, Barny was all over the stage, in a variety of positions. So good to see such enthusiasm and energy, which was not to the detriment of the musicality and vocals.
‘Drunk Lonely Man’, ‘Marie Sue’, ‘Crazy About You’ and ‘Janet’ rocked the first set, which concluded with the excellent ‘I Got To The River’. Sure during the second set, there were a couple of covers by Johnny Horton and Charlie Feathers, but these were delivered with an All Star twist. Loved ‘Help Me To Find Out’ and ‘Oh Mama’ too. Yeah they were on top form throughout the two sets.
A cracking show by the French lads, who by all accounts, rocked it up at Bill Guntrip’s Milton Keynes venue the following day. If you missed ‘em, you missed out
The Rave is selling well, just look at that line up. And we'll be there stage left as usual. Rock Ridge Rumble has added a Thursday night event to the established three days. Top weekender under canvas in the North East. And on the extreme right, the Atomic Festival, which has the added kudos of being covered in Car Kulture Deluxe #82. Almost as good as the Bettajive Review :D
JBB, their next gig at the excellent Witham Public Hall in Essex, hosts Pete Hutton and the Beyonders. Andy Barker and his crew, present another top show in Derbyshire, check out their varied and exciting line up. Last month we featured the Newark leg of Retro Festival. If you click on the flyer, you will be taken to the Newbury event.
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Cheers 'til next time