Sunday, 20 May 2012

Retro Man Blog Night: The Len Price 3 + The Jetsonics + The Past Tense "Thank You!"

Welcome! - Photo by Steve Worrall
A big "Thank You!" to everyone who turned up to the The Half Moon in Putney for the Retro Man Blog Night, it was a big success with a great atmosphere and numbers up on last year and pretty close to capacity! Thanks for the support and I'm sure you'll agree that all three bands were on top form. I think all the bands benefited from the refurbished Half Moon's new sound and lighting system and played superb sets. Kicking things off were The Past Tense who previewed songs from their brand new album Take Three which has just been released on Paisley Archive. The album is great, packed full of top notch songs and on the night they came over really, really well. The ska-tinged ”Nervous” (click title for video) was probably the highlight of an extremely catchy, tight set.

The Past Tense - Photo by Paul Slattery
Tonight singer/guitarist Andy Norrie-Rolfe was excellent, hopefully the response to this gig and the new album will boost their self-belief even more. Bassist Ken shows some nifty footwork as he spins out some cool bass runs and Drummer "Nuts" would take the crown as the best of any new band I've seen. However, tonight he has some stiff competition from The Jetsonics Dave Lombardi and Neil Fromow, the Keith Moon lookalike from The Len Price 3. All three drummers are integral to each band's sound and identity. The Past Tense have that tightly wound danceable sound that flickers between late 70's/early 80's Mod Revival, 60's Garage Punk, Small Faces style psychedelia and on ”Jimmy’s Love Song” (click for video), the expansive chords of The Who.

The Jetsonics - Photo by Paul Slattery
Second band of the night, The Jetsonics mix the New Wave sound of the suburbs, and update it with a contemporary take on Power Pop. They throw in their West London reggae influences on "Somewhere Else", someone in the crowd told me this reminded him of The Ruts, high praise indeed. Just as Andy from The Past Tense is growing in confidence, then the same can be said of Jetsonics' vocalist Sam Day who is a charismatic, and very tall singer. Yes, very tall indeed...luckily I remembered last year's comedy gold moment, when I had to go on stage and introduce them beforehand I could barely reach the microphone even standing on tip-toes! Anyway, Sam has improved no end and has evolved into a much more compelling performer, there's more grit in his performance. His voice too, which sometimes used to crack on the high notes has got stronger and like him, his pals in The Jetsonics just get better all the time. Tonight they debut brand new song ”Debbie Harry” (click title for video) which sounds promising alongside other, as yet un-recorded numbers, such as "She Wolf", "White Capri" and my personal highlight "Chelsea Drugstore". The temperature rises but bassist Adam Donovan keeps his natty black jacket on regardless. The band are in the studio at the moment and will be releasing their third E.P. in the summer, something to look forward to!

Glenn Page, The Len Price 3 - Photo by Paul Slattery
Most other bands would find it very difficult to follow the superb sets from The Past Tense and The Jetsonics, most other bands except The Len Price 3 that is! Quite simply the most incendiary, mind-blowing live act I have seen in recent years. Probably only The Soundtrack of Our Lives have blown me away consistently on so many occasions and tonight The Len Price 3 just explode onto the stage! The set is a little less frenetic than usual and actually this works really well, helped by the excellent sound system, all their wonderful melodies and Drummer Neil Fromow's insanely catchy backing harmonies are loud and clear. Bassist Steve Huggins is on superb form, swinging his bass around and immersing himself in the music. They play a great selection of tracks from all three of their albums including ”Lai-Ha Lam”, ”Pictures” & “Girl Like You” and ”YouTell Lies”, (click song titles for videos) all instigating some frenetic dancing and jumping about! Singer and guitarist Glenn Page is his usual hyper-active self and on "Comanche!" leaps into the audience.

Steve Huggins, The Len Price 3 - Photo by Paul Slattery
They get two well deserves encores and on crowd favourite "Shirley Crabtree" the band are joined on stage by some eager members of the audience who help out on backing vocals. As the lights go up and I take the stage to say "thank you" it's clear from the huge smiles all round and generous applause that The Len Price 3 have again delivered another classic life-affirming gig. If you haven't seen them yet, I thoroughly recommend you do so at the next possible opportunity, you certainly won't regret it!

Neil Fromow, The Len Price 3 - Photo by Paul Slattery
Here's a little treat, a new and as yet, unreleased Len Price 3 number "No Escape" that I filmed on the evening. Enjoy! Steve.

Photo by Steve Worrall
I'd like to thank all the bands, Carrie and The Half Moon, Mayumi for the merchandise and Paul Slattery for the photographs. Special thanks to Paul Phillips, Alan May from Glory Boy Radio, Albert Cummings, Adam Donovan, Lee Rimmer, Simon Gulliford, David Kerr, plus all who helped me promote the show along the way! Thanks to all those who came along and made the night such a great one. "Take Three" the superb new album from The Past Tense can be ordered from Paisley Archive Records.

Next up is TV Smith, Dick York, and Andy J Gallagher at the Railway Southend on June 22nd. See you there...Cheers everyone! Steve.

For more photos of the night - ”Like” the Retro Man Blog Facebook page.

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