Thursday 16 June 2011

The Monochrome Set live London Camden Dingwalls June 12th

The Monochrome Set live at London Camden Dingwalls - Photo by Steve Worrall
It was great to have the rare opportunity to see The Monochrome Set live again, I've been looking forward to a new album since the superb "Trinity Road" which was released way back in 1995.  I was slightly disappointed to find out that they were not promoting any new material, but this did mean that the band could play a show crammed full of older classic material. In fact I imagine that many die-hard fans in the audience would have written tonight's set list if they had the chance.
Bid & Lester Square - Photo by Steve Worrall
The band take the stage to recorded jungle sounds and the familiar tribal drumming intro to "The Monochrome Set (I Presume)", Lester Square, with pipe clenched between teeth, looks dapper as usual as he spins out the song's intricate guitar intro. Next up it's right into "The Lighter Side of Dating" closely followed by "Jet Set Junta". The band are in good spirits and look positively cheerful, something not usually associated with the Monochrome Set!
Bid from The Monochrome Set - Photo by Steve Worrall
It was a real treat to hear so many old numbers, but this is not to do a dis-service to the band's later albums, they did play three well received numbers from "Trinity Road", with "I Love Lambeth" one of the night's highlights. There was a powerful run through of "Forever Young" from "Charade" but nothing from the wonderful early 90's double whammy of "Dante's Casino" and "Jack" which was a bit of a shame, but that minor gripe was quickly dispelled by the crunching guitar riff intro to oldie "Alphaville".
The Monochrome Set live at London Camden Dingwalls - Photo by Steve Worrall
"Eine Symphonie Des Grauens" is my favourite song of theirs, and it sounded great, built around an inventive bass riff, with an almost Arabic motif - it highlights Andy Warren, surely one of the most underrated bassists around. The set ends with their "hit" "Jacob's Ladder" and the band leave to frenzied calls for an encore.

Bid returns for an emotive "Goodbye Joe" and then it's bang into "He's Frank", recently covered by Iggy Pop. More encore pleas and we are treated to "Fat Fun", a song that must date back to Andy and Lester's time with the original Adam & The Ants. Then it's crowd favourite, "The Mating Game", and finally the instrumental "Lester Leaps In".  I'm sure they would have played more but for Bid's concern about everyone catching the last train home, Sunday is not the most rock'n'roll day of the week that's for sure.
Andy Warren, Bid and Jennifer Denitto - Photo by Steve Worrall
So, a rare treat indeed and a wonderful reminder of just what a great band The Monochrome Set are. It's such a shame that we have to wait so long to see them live, and even longer for new material, but it certainly does make you appreciate it when the chance comes along. Make sure you don't miss out next time they play near you, it could be a very long wait for the next opportunity!


  1. Nice one. i couldn't make it! These are great photographs. I am trying to The Monochrome Set a gig in Brighton, fingers crossed.

  2. Thanks David - I didn't have my "proper" camera with me so I'm not so happy with the pics, but glad you like them!

    Let me know if the Brighton gig goes ahead - 1. I can give it a plug here and 2. Most importantly, I'd like to go!

    All the best