Thursday, 9 July 2015

The Dustaphonics and The Mobbs at Weirdsville June 27th

The Dustaphonics - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Yet another great night at Weirdsville saw The Dustaphonics headlining with The Mobbs travelling down from their native Northampton to open the show. The last time I saw The Dustaphonics was supporting Graham Day & The Forefathers at 229 The Venue which I always find a pretty soul-less place with its high stage and ridiculously over-the-top jobsworth security staff. It turned out that lead singer Hayley Red had injured her leg earlier in the day so, although she bravely continued with the show, she did spend most of the gig rooted to the spot clutching her microphone stand for support. This was a bit of a shame as I had heard a lot about Hayley’s energetic performances but luckily nothing had affected her voice, which was still in impressively fine form. As if one injury scare wasn’t enough, proceedings came to an unexpected halt when the drummer passed out suddenly. Luckily he was OK and able to continue and the band went on to complete a really enjoyable show despite the set-backs. So, tonight I was really looking forward to seeing The Dustaphonics again, this time in the far more friendly and intimate surroundings of the Fiddlers Elbow but more importantly and hopefully with the band all fit and healthy!

The Dustaphonics - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Dustaphonics - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Dustaphonics are the brainchild of promoter, guitarist and songwriter Yvan Serrano Fontova, otherwise known as the DJ Healer Selecta and first of all Yvan, bassist Devid and drummer Eric take the stage as a trio and launch into the twanging Surf instrumental "Eat My Dustaphonics", then suddenly Hayley bounds on stage and we are off and away for a perfectly paced hour long set. "Don't Let The Devil Drive" closely followed by the single "Big Smoke London Town" is as excellent a double shot of pure Garage Rock & Soul as you are ever going to hear. Yvan is hunched over his guitar, feet tapping energetically, with his trademark flat cap and loud Hawaiian shirt. He smiles throughout the whole set, and I can’t blame him, I’d smile too if I could play in a band as great as The Dustaphonics! He seems to be having as much fun as we are in the crowd. They were joined on stage for "Ride On Louisiana Red" by Kevin Smith on some mightily impressive harmonica. It turned out that this was a pretty spontaneous appearance, apparently Kevin was a big fan of the band and he had just moved down to London from Glasgow that very day. Via some mutual friends Yvan was able to invite him to have a trial blast during their sound-check and it worked out so well that Kevin also jumped up on stage for a few more numbers during the set.

The Dustaphonics with Kevin Smith - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Dustaphonics - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Kevin will also be appearing with the band at their show supporting The Sonics at The Forum in Kentish Town on July 30th. "Q Sounds Groove", from the new E.P. on Q-Sounds Recordings, is a nice 'n' sleazy down and dirty grind. The best thing about The Dustaphonics is that they cover a hell of a lot of bases - all your favourite good time genres are catered for, whether you are a fan of Surf instrumentals, Rock’n’Roll, raw R’n’B, classic Soul or Garage Rock you'll find something to love. Hayley is a stunning performer, a "force of nature" according to the Dirty Water Records web-site, and they are not wrong. With her long flame red hair flailing all over the place, she pulls out all the stops to grab our attention. She's a sexy and sassy non-stop blur of energy and there’s a nice chemistry between her and Yvan too. Tonight, it’s loud. On record the band tend to favour a lo-fi guitar sound but tonight standing right in the firing line of Yvan’s amplifier I nearly get my head blown off by the power. Eric and Devid lock in with their relentless solid groove and it punches you right in the guts. It works a treat, particularly on another of my personal highlights, a new song called "You Don't Love Me", which was a snarling Punk Rockin' delight. Actually, there are a lot of highlights, "Johnny & Bo" is a fun mash-up of the Ramones playing Bo Diddley that has us all singing along and the final song of the night "The Message" really brings the house down.

The Mobbs - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Although, I’ve known of The Mobbs for a good few years now, this was actually the first time to see them play live. Well, that is except for the closing bars on the last song of a set they played supporting The Fallen Leaves at their Minimum RnB Club night at the 12 Bar Club a while back. Actually, it would appear that The Fallen Leaves have made quite an impact on the Northampton scene, as The Mobbs latest album is entitled “Garage Punk for Boys”, which is a take on The Leave’s motto “Punk Rock For Gentlemen”. Their local mates, Snakeman 3, also got in on the act by penning a song called “Nice Cup Of Tea” in tribute to the Leave’s on-stage “tea ceremony” ritual. Tonight, The Mobbs kick off with “Get Your Hair Cut” from the new album which is also the opening track of Episode 16 of Retrosonic Podcast (which also features The Dustaphonics) and then slam straight into the superb "One Erotic Thought". Before we go on, I thought I’d mention that you can see a video of these two numbers at the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel here.

The Mobbs - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Looking very dapper in their waistcoats and cravats, The Mobbs are much tighter than I imagined, I’m not sure why I should have thought otherwise but I was expecting a bit of a chaotic gig. However, they are really on the money and boast an excellent rhythm section in Cheadle and Brendan. Cheadle certainly looks like he’s enjoying himself, bashing away behind his drum-kit and Brendan is a top bass player, one of the best I have seen for some time. The way he plays reminds of Noman Watt Roy, he has that fluid style that carries a lot of the melody. In fact talking of Norman leads me onto Wilko Johnson, as The Mobbs to me are not so much your typical Garage Rock band as a raw R’n’B band in the style of early Dr. Feelgood, Screaming Blue Messiahs or The Pirates. Lead vocalist and guitarist Joe B. Humbled also has that choppy, stuttering rhythm guitar sound pioneered by Mick Green but made better known by Wilko. Joe is an imposing front-man with his impressive beard and sculpted moustache and he machine guns the crowd with his guitar. One of my highlights of the night was the single "Ruby Sol". Lyrically they are a lot of fun and have you singing aloud some rather strange choruses such as the aforementioned “Get Your Hair Cut”, "Not a Sausage" and "Put It In Your Pipe and Smoke It". So, The Mobbs were the perfect opening act, it was a really enjoyable set and I hope it’s not another three years until I see the band play live again.

The Mobbs - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Dustaphonics will support the legendary Sonics at The Forum in Kentish Town on July 30th, you can check out more details on the gig at their official web-site here. Information on The Mobbs can be found here. For details on forthcoming gigs at Weirdsville please check out their Facebook page or the You Got Good Taste web-site. For more photos of both bands please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and if you are not already following, hit “Like” to get access to the photo album. There are also videos from the gig up now on the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel.

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