Friday 7 December 2012

TV Smith at The Railway Hotel Southend-on-Sea Nov 23rd a Retro Man Blog/Podrophenia/Southend Punk night

TV Smith - Photo by Paul Slattery
TV Smith's return to The Railway in Southend-on-Sea turned out to be another wonderful experience at what is fast becoming one of my all time favourite venues. As TV Smith said after our last gig there together back in June, "The Railway is a music venue run by music lovers for music lovers and that's a rare thing in the U.K.". He enjoyed it so much that the very next day he asked to do it all again. And so, here we were back again, and thanks to my joint promoters Dave Collins and Ian Pile from Podrophenia and Steve Pegrum from the Southend Punk web-site, we were greeted by another capacity crowd packed out with what must be the friendliest bunch of locals a venue could wish for. Fi and Dave Dulake have done wonders at The Railway and are transforming the upstairs venue, installing a new P.A. system and extending the stage since I was last there.

The Tuppenny Bunters - Photo by Steve Worrall
As well as doing a fantastic job running the place, and serving some amazing vegetarian food too, they also have time to perform in their own drum and organ duo, The Tuppenny Bunters, who opened tonight's show. Swapping instruments and vocals as they went along, they played a mind spinning set of crashing jazz punk featuring unusual cover versions and cheesy theme tunes ramped up to 100 miles per hour.
Dick York - Photo by Paul Slattery
Next up was Cryssis front man and singer-songwriter Dick York, who played an acoustic run through of some catchy numbers from his repertoire. Dick used to play in local Mod Revival band Sta-Prest so the set was interspersed by local references and heavy on the audience participation. He has written a true classic in "Could It Be", and I'm sure I could hear people humming the tune the next day all over Southend. Dick's wife Christine joined him on stage at the end to run through some poems including the amusing "Punk Rock Gran".

TV Smith - Photo by TheDimLocator
Then TV Smith took to the stage to rapturous applause, the Railway crowd seem to have really embraced him and the reaction was really heart-warming. TV ran through a perfectly balanced set of songs from throughout his career such as "It's Expensive Being Poor", "Lord's Prayer", the song he wrote for The Lords of The New Church and my personal favourite, "You Saved My Life Then Ruined It". There are calls for "Tomahawk Cruise" the classic single he released with his first post-Adverts band TV Smith's Explorers, and he duly obliges to everyone's delight. "The Lion and The Lamb", "The Day I Caught The Big Fish", are also played with utter conviction. He then kindly complied to my shout for "Complaints Department" from his latest album "Coming Into Land", although ironically not until after a little complaint. "I'm not a Punk Rock Jukebox you know...", he tells me... "but TV, it wasn't as if I requested "Bored Teenagers", just a track from your new record...!". You can hear a hilarious version of "Complaints Department" in our exclusive Retrosonic Podcast live session. Throughout the show he talks about his views on the corporate world and mass consumer obsessions that are blighting our society, he's inspiring and honest, but also humorous with it.
TV Smith - Photo by Paul Slattery
He even throws in his amusing but cynical take on the ubiquitous seasonal Christmas song, "Xmas Bloody Xmas". What is evident every time you see TV Smith perform is that he cares, he wants to do right, to play his music on his terms to anyone that will listen. And if that means lugging his guitar, suitcase and emergency sandwich to sub-zero temperatures in Norway or Finland, or playing a festival in the middle of a forest in Eastern Europe with no guarantee of a place to sleep, then he will do it. It's inspirational, and his between song monologues get a great reaction. We are treated to the moving "Generation Y" and "In The Arms Of My Enemy" and then the raucous sing-along of "Only One Flavour".

TV Smith - Photo by Paul Slattery
Of course the set builds towards some of the classics from The Adverts days, but the good thing is you don't get a feeling of nostalgia, his solo material is as well received as the old numbers, but there's no doubting the place does go wild to "One Chord Wonders" and "Gary Gilmore's Eyes". As the set draws to a close the atmosphere builds and as he plays "Good Times Are Back", there is a stage invasion. TV is swamped by people all trying to shake his hand, slap his back and join in on backing vocals, it's chaotic but good natured. Unfortunately due to things over-running, the set had to finish there and we did not get to enjoy Piley and Mondo's superb DJ'ing, but the crowd were thoroughly exhausted and seemed very satisfied, so it was probably a fitting time to call it a night. Well, that was Retro Man Blog's third joint promotion gig at The Railway and I sincerely hope there will be more to come!

Here are some more photographs from the night, and you can also see a full set of superb photos by the extremely talented photographer Paul Hughes on his Flickr site.

Fi from The Tuppenny Bunters - Photo by Jim McManus
Fi from The Tuppenny Bunters - by Paul Hughes
Dave from The Tuppenny Bunters by TheDimLocator
TV Smith by Paul Slattery
TV Smith by TheDimLocator
TV Smith by Jim McManus
TV Smith by Paul Hughes
"Coppo" by Paul Slattery
Stage Invasion! by Jim McManus
Dick York, Dave Collins and TV Smith by Paul Hughes
TV Smith by Paul Slattery
There is another review of the gig up on the excellent Planet Mondo Blog and you can see more photos and a great selection of videos at the Southend Punk web-site Gallery too. Then you can still listen or download for free, our fantastic Retrosonic Podcast TV Smith Special Edition, in which TV talks us through his fascinating and inspiring history and plays an exclusive acoustic live session.

I'd like to thank TV Smith, Fi and Dave at The Railway, Dave Collins and Ian Pile from Podrophenia, Steve Pegrum from Southend Punk, Dick York & Christine York. Many thanks also to photographers Paul Slattery, Paul Hughes, Jim McManus and TheDimLocator for contributing the excellent pics, not forgetting the great Railway crowd that turned up to make this another memorable night!

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