Wednesday, 24 April 2019

The Len Price 3 at The Snooty Fox, Torquay 29th March 2019 by David Leach

The Len Price 3 - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
If someone had said to me you would be going to see The Len Price 3 in Torquay, on a Friday night,  I would have probably laughed as, despite being a long-time fan, it’s 200 miles from where I live. However, when I found out that they were playing the night before my local football team, Wealdstone, were playing at Torquay United, it seemed rude not to have an overnight trip and go to both. The band were playing at an event called ‘Torbay March of the Mods’ which was spread over two days and was primarily a fundraiser for the Teenage Cancer Trust. The venue was a large pub called the ‘Snooty Fox’, a perfect size venue for this type of event and housing a decent stage and live music room. It also has the added attraction of a spacious area for the dance-floor and DJ unit  that kicked into action in between and after the live music. There had been other live performances but, by the time I got to the venue, the final support band were on – a local band called The Underground who were playing together for the first time. Hearing this news just before I was about to watch them, I feared the worst, but their set of ‘event appropriate covers’ by bands such as The Jam, Wings and the Small Faces were well-received and took an interesting turn with a cover of the Kinks’,  “I’m Not Like Everybody Else”, which went down well with the audience. Despite being the headline act, it was clear that the Len Price 3 were a bit of an unknown quantity to many here and, as well as being the only contemporary band playing their own songs, it’s fair to say they were a long way musically from the Northern Soul and Motown end of the modernist spectrum that the DJs (the excellent Vinyl Avengers) were playing between sets with which many associate the Mod genre. Indeed, their opener, "You Got Nothing I Want’ is one of their more spartan, jagged, angry numbers that channels the spirit of Medway pioneers, The Milkshakes, with its venomous lyric targeting a wealthy UKIP-voting builder who doesn’t pay tax…as well as his surgically-enhanced wife.

The Len Price 3 live in Torquay - photo by David Leach
For me, their set really took off with the claustrophobic, psychedelic, early Pink Floyd-sounding, ‘Man in the Woods’, a tension-filled tale that tells a stark story of a hermit lost in time in a hostile world with a new housing development closing in on him. It’s a song that is arranged so that you can hear every word singer and songwriter Glen Page is singing and something that audience unfamiliar with their songs really seemed to feed off. Classic Len Price 3 tunes followed - the catchy sing along, 'Swing Like a Monkey' followed by, arguably, their best song, 'After You’re Gone’, a tale of an elderly person alone after the passing of a lifelong partner that is wrapped in the most perfect verses and chorus the Beatles never wrote.  It was clear than an initially uncertain audience had been completely won over; and a double whammy of the dynamic, ‘Girl who Became a Machine’, and the ferocious ‘Praying Mantis’ focusing on the perils of internet dating demonstrate what a compelling live band they are. It was then time for the three-song encore, amongst which was the dark and disturbing but ultimately triumphant anthem, ‘The London Institute’ which channels the spirit of The Who with its changes of dynamic, pace and direction. It’s fair to say that The Len Price 3 gained a few new fans as a result of their set tonight. I had a brief chat with the band afterwards and was pleased to hear that they have recorded new songs. All that was left for me to do after this was to go off to the dancefloor to do a bad impersonation of northern soul dancing amongst some real experts that only several pints of Otter Ale can give you the courage to do.
- David Leach March 2019

No comments:

Post a comment