Four gigs in one week is quite unusual for me these days, but emphasised the plusses and minuses of each act and also highlighted the differences of each band, especially the old and the new.
Here are the gigs in order;
Sham 69 Saturday in London.
Gemma Rogers Sunday in Brighton
Working Men’s Club Tuesday in Brighton
Stereolab Wednesday in Brighton
There were several eras covered, and so it was interesting to compare each band and where they’re at either then or now.
Sham 69, fronted by Jimmy Pursey and with the original line up from 1977, are very much a marmite band in the love or loathe stakes. Mainly due to their original followers being skinheads and violence at all their gigs at that time, followed by chart success & Pursey’s larger than life persona, the fans were passionate, but the haters had plenty of ammo to dislike.
I loved the band at the time, but I was a punk rocker and there was trouble with skinheads everywhere and going to a gig of theirs back then… that was a definite no no for me. Back then, the kids were not united.
Fast forward to five years ago, and Jimmy had stayed a lot at Hotel Pelirocco, my place at the time. I got on well with him, something which culminated in him offering Dirt Royal, the Brighton band I managed, a support at The100 Club. They were great. It was a mixed crowd, there was no aggro, just a good rock’n’roll band, and I could finally jump in the mosh pit safely. Jimmy was born to perform and always has the audience in the palm of his hand.
Gemma Rogers penultimate gig on her UK tour for her current album, No Place Like Home, at the lovely Hope And Ruin, a great debut full of clever witty observations of everyday life with a bit of a social comment edge for good measure.
It wasn’t as busy as expected, but perhaps isn’t as well known here as she should be. She had a sore throat, but that was pushed to one side with a stunning vocal and stage performance. Like Jimmy Pursey, she’s born for the stage. She has charm, grace, panache and style in abundance, and was wildly received by her passionate fans.
Working Men’s Club hail from Yorkshire, are signed to ultra cool Heavenly Records and are loved by critics – they get all the plaudits – and are definitely on the rise to the next level of fame. A touch of the New Order indie dance crossover best describes their sound. I first saw them at The Great Escape four years ago playing to 30 people in Photomatic in Gardner Street. It was an epic performance, followed by a bigger, but also epic performance at The Latest Bar a year later, now playing to hundreds instead of 50 or so people. I personally felt the charisma and stage presence of singer Minksy was slightly lost on the bigger crowd as he’s very intense, but watch this space as they move into the next stage like Fontaine’s DC before them.
Finally the unique perfectly crafted lounge Anglo French avant garde electronic pop sound of Sterolab (pictured). They made one of my all time faves – French Disko, an amazing pop song. If you want to check them out, it was perfectly highlighted on a YouTube clip from mid-90s TV show The Word, a clip that still sends a shiver.
They sold out at Concorde 2, quite a feat at any stage of your career, and were eagerly anticipated by a crowd stroking their beards, but actually the gig fell a bit flat and me and my pal Dave, over from Australia, left early.
I like a bit of performance with my gigs no matter how innovative or arty, Jimmy Pursey gave a master class, Gemma has bundles of charisma & presence, WMC need to get back to their roots and the Lab need chairs. ✌️❤️