Thursday 23 February 2012

Review: The Godfathers "Valentine's Day Massacre" + The Len Price 3 + Lone Sharks live Islington Academy Feb 14th

The Godfathers backstage, Islington Academy - Photo by Paul Slattery
It was a real thrill to be spending Valentine's Day in the company of The Godfathers once more. Who needs, chocolates, roses and fine dining when you can treat your loved-one to a feast of raw and primal rock 'n' roll? The last time I saw The Godfathers live was back in 1990 supporting The Stranglers at The Alexandra Palace, in what turned out to be Hugh Cornwell's last gig with the band. In a strange twist, shortly after the gig last Tuesday, the Godfathers' vocalist, Peter Coyne released a statement mentioning his intent to leave the band following their next round of touring and recording commitments. 
Peter Coyne - Photo by Paul Slattery
This has come as a bit of a shock, well maybe I should say a huge disappointment rather than a shock, as there was a bit of tension on stage at one point just before the encore. But I do sincerely hope they can sort out their differences and get the long awaited new album released, as it was shaping up to be very promising indeed, if the new songs they played tonight were anything to go by. As we discussed in the Pilot Episode of the Retrosonic Podcast, The Godfathers were hugely important to us lovers of guitar-fuelled loud and honest Rock - they blazed a burning, aggressive path through the barren musical wastelands of the late 80's and early 90's. So, it was great to have the chance to see the band back together with the original guitarist of The Sid Presley Experience, Del Bartle alongside brothers Chris and Peter Coyne and drummer Grant Nicholas. There was a big buzz in the crowd as the band took the stage, and launched into a trio of faultless classics - "She Gives me Love", "I Want Everything" and their anthem, "Birth, School, Work, Death". I always thought Peter Coyne was one of Rock's great vocalists, oozing a menace that makes you involuntary duck when he picks up his mic stand and raises it above his head. 
Grant & Del - Photo by Paul Slattery

He has a snarl that seems to wrap around every lyric in a way reminiscent of John Lydon. Bassist Chris Coyne and guitarist Del Bartle are ice cool behind their shades, and there's an underlying tension that crackles and spits in their spiky, cynical songs. The great tracks come thick and fast, "Lonely Man", "Love Is Dead" amongst many others culled mainly from their first three albums. There is a lot of pushing and shoving in the mosh-pit, resulting in a couple of near casualties as the dancing gets a little too energetic.Whilst there isn't quite the all out visual assualt of the Kris Dollimore/Mike Gibson line-up, musically, Del covers the old two guitar attack extremely well on his own. The band end on a cover of Ramone's classic "Blitzkrieg Bop" and then it's over. Let's hope it's just this gig that finished abruptly and not the band itself!

Chris Coyne - Photo by Paul Slattery
Peter Coyne - Photo by Paul Slattery
The Godfathers - Peter, Del, Grant & Chris - Photo by Paul Slattery
Before The Godfathers, The Len Price 3 got a well deserved encore for their thunderous set of well-honed, melodic Garage Rock. Space restrictions meant that drummer Neil Fromow was pushed centre stage and his moment in the spotlight was not wasted. 

This was Neil's best performance of all The Len Price 3 gigs I've seen, his backing vocal harmonies are a crucial part of the band's appeal, lifting the songs to another level of insistently catchy gems. He resembles Keith Moon, not just in appearance but also in the way he drums and immerses himself in the music. He's flanked by bassist Steve Huggins, Steve has no regard for his own safety or for that of the audience as he careers around the stage. His bass is a weapon of mass destruction, and I'm not joking, as I've nearly been decapitated by it..!! On Neil's other side is livewire vocalist and guitarist Glenn Page, who is also a hyperactive performer, leaping into the crowd during their cover of "Comanche". As a band they are a blur of energy, and the audience certainly took to them and were rewarded by the encore of "Shirley Crabtree".
The Len Price 3 - All photos by Paul Slattery
First band of the night were The Lone Sharks from Bristol. I only caught a bit of their sound check and one song unfortunately, and from what I heard they were good too and I'd certainly like to see them again. Their album "Supply & Demand" is really great, a mixture of good time Punk Rock & Roll that brings to mind The Buzzcocks and New York Dolls. Worth checking out indeed...


  1. Great review, Retro. And Paul's b & w photo of The Godfathers at the top of the page is immense.

  2. Thanks Drakey...yeah those backstage pic are great aren't they!