Sunday 16 December 2012

Retro Man Blog night with The Len Price 3, The Past Tense, The Fallen Leaves and The Legendary Groovymen at The Half Moon Putney December 07th

The Len Price 3 (and friends...) - Photo by Anders Magnusson
December 07th was my fourth Retro Man Blog night at The Half Moon in Putney and it proved to be the best one yet, so I'd really like to thank all of you that braved the cold and came along. We got in close to 200 people in the end so it was a fantastic turn-out, and me and all the bands really appreciate the support. I make no apologies for my insistence on putting on gigs for my two favourites - the night's headliners and the best live band in the U.K. - The Len Price 3 and the fantastic Past Tense. Even though, having worked with them so much over the past year a friend inadvertently asked "so when is your next gig for The Ten Past Three?".

The Legendary Groovymen by Steve Worrall
This time round we added the superb Fallen Leaves to the bill, along with The Legendary Groovymen and DJ Jeff Munday, for a packed night of raucous entertainment that would end up in a joyful stage invasion. Actually, this is something that seems to be a common theme at the Retro Man Blog nights as we had a stage invasion at the recent joint Retro Man/Podrophenia/Southend Punk night for the legendary voice of The Adverts, TV Smith, at The Railway in Southend. Although that one did include a bit of near-lethal stage-diving too, something TV said was extremely rare for him at his solo acoustic shows! Anyway, back to last Friday and kicking off the proceedings were The Legendary Groovymen, who proved a perfectly enjoyable warm up act with their run through of a mix of some choice cover versions and original numbers that set the good natured tone for the rest of the night to follow. Next up were The Fallen Leaves who were a revelation, I'd never seen the band live before so it was a treat to be able to get down the front and enjoy their set.

Rob Symmons of The Fallen Leaves by Paul Slattery
They open with "Did You See Her" and then into "Passing By" from their exceptional new album "If Only We'd Know". Guitarist Rob Symmons, one of the original members of Subway Sect, attacks his guitar sometimes quite literally, banging the body and strings to produce a taut Garage Rock sound full of splintered and jagged riffs. Vocalist Rob Green, resplendent in tweed jacket and cravat, looks the quintessential English gentlemen, "We play simple songs for complex people" he announces at one point. "Is She Somewhere?" from the album "That's Right" is followed by two more new songs, the sinister "I Made a Mistake" and the night's highlight "Against The Grain" which is a hook laden delight. During "Shining" from the "It's Too Late" album, singer Rob takes off his jacket to reveal a fetching waistcoat complete with pocket-watch on a chain. He then suddenly produces a thermos flask and pours himself a cup of tea, it's a nice, amusing piece of theatre. "Revenge" is followed by The Fallen Leaves last number of the night "Trouble" and then they finish to a great reception from the crowd.

Rob Green of The Fallen Leaves, sponsored by PG Tips by Steve Worrall
Next up it's The Past Tense and they nailed it tonight with the best performance I've seen from the band yet. Starting with the fantastic "Lost Without Your Love", they power through their tight, perfectly formed little nuggets such as "Poison Arrow" and "My Baby". They play a catchy new song called "Remember The Days", and follow that with even more great songs, "Angel Face", "The Optimist" and the classic "The Wolfman". The band end on "Jimmy's Love Song", a tribute to Quadrophenia, with it's urgent, strummed guitar intro it really raised the temperature. They got a well deserved encore too and treated us to "Out Of My Mind" before disappearing to wild applause.

The Past Tense by Paul Slattery
There's a real buzz around the venue as The Len Price 3 take the stage and it's like 0-100MPH in the beat of a drum as they slam straight into "Words Won't Come" and the catchy "You Tell Lies". They play a promising new song "My Grandad Jim", before revisiting their debut album to treat us to some rarely played oldies such as "Amsterdam" and "Hard Times Forever".

Glenn Page of The Len Price 3 by Paul Slattery
Then it's the unbelievably catchy "With Your Love" followed by the first single "Christian In The Desert" and the awesome crowd favourite "Rentacrowd". "The Girl Who Became A Machine" gives way to another new song "Praying Mantis" which will hopefully feature on their long awaited fourth album due to be released in 2013. The classics keep on coming, "After You're Gone", "Pictures", "Girl Like You" and another rarely played number "Sailor's Sweetheart". The band end the set with a raucous "Chinese Burn" before being urged back for a well deserved encore. They kick off again with a version of Link Wray's Surf classic "Comanche!" a cover that they have pretty much made their own. The fact that it is virtually instrumental gives lead vocalist and guitarist Glenn Page an opportunity to leap into the crowd without missing a strum.

Steve Huggins of The Len Price 3 by Paul Slattery
He makes it back on stage for that perfect piece of Kinks style pop "Mr. Grey" before powering through "If I Ain't Got You", "If You Live Round Here" and "Chatham Town Spawns Devils". Then Glenn invites the crowd to join him on stage and a fair few take him up on the offer for the traditional closing singalong "Shirley Crabtree". Then as the chants of "Easy, Easy" die down it's all over and a thoroughly satisfied crowd applauded what must go down as one of The Len Price 3's best performances yet. We have been honoured with two excellent reviews, a nice one from David Chandler on The Afterword web-site and then Adrian Ainsworth really captures the atmosphere brilliantly on his Specs Blog: "For this crowd, the 'Scene' has always been here. It was a joyful sight to see the sharp attire, the men were decked out in hooped shirts, flat caps, and shirts so floral they actually started photosynthesising - while the women, as usual, looked even better in short pinafore dresses and flats and, frankly, the willingness to simultaneously pogo and give the bands the finger as a sign of affection. Almost as if we'd put some hippies and punks in a blender - perhaps that's how this music can sound aggressive but feel inclusive: good, fast times." Well said Adrian! Everyone then moved into the main bar where DJ Jeff Munday, played a great selection of tunes that had people dancing away until closing time at 1am. So, again I'd like to thank the great crowd, Jeff Munday and all the bands and I would also like to thank Carrie at the Half Moon and her great staff for the work they put in, not just at the Pub and Venue itself, but also behind the scenes in helping to promote the shows.

Neil Fromow of The Len Price 3 by Paul Slattery
My thanks also to Paul Slattery and Anders Magnusson, for contributing the excellent photographs. All photographs strictly copyright as credited. Also thanks to David Chandler and Adrian Ainsworth for their great reviews. Here's some more shots from the night...

The Legendary Groovymen - Photo by Steve Worrall
The Fallen Leaves - Photo by Anders Magnusson
The Fallen Leaves - Photo by Steve Worrall
Rob Green The Fallen Leaves by Paul Slattery
Ken of The Past Tense by Paul Slattery
Warren of The Past Tense by Paul Slattery
Andy of The Past Tense in full flight by Paul Slattery
Glenn of The Len Price 3 by Anders Magnusson
The Len Price 3 by Paul Slattery
Neil of The Len Price 3 by Anders Magnusson
The lovely Half Moon Crowd by Steve Worrall
DJ Jeff Munday Photo by Steve Worrall
 Here's a Playlist of some exclusive live videos of the gig, more can be found at the Retro Man Blog YouTube Channel.

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