It doesn't seem like five minutes since we last saw The Courettes and Oh! Gunquit put on a blistering show together at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth - a perfect combination of two of Retro Man Blog's long-standing favourite bands - it was a match made in heaven. But not only are The Courettes now affectionately known as the 'fabulous' Courettes, they are also known as the hardest working band in showbusiness and for good reason, yes they are back in the U.K. once again and they picked Oh! Gunquit to join them at the legendary 100 Club on London's Oxford Street for the very last night of their latest tour. Tonight we are also treated to the added bonus of DJ Barry "Scratchy" Myers spinning some superb tunes to get everyone in the mood so we certainly got great value for our ticket money. Resident DJ at Dingwalls just as Punk Rock hit London, Scratchy did shows with Ramones and Flamin' Groovies before being spirited away by The Clash as their tour DJ from 1978-80. I love the fact that his eclectic choices of International roots music not only gets you dancing but also takes you on a whirlwind tour of the World's many and varied musical landscapes. I can see why he has struck up friendships with Joe Strummer in the past and with contemporary mixed-nationality bands such as Oh! Gunquit and King Salami & The Cumberland 3, as they, like Scratchy himself, sum up the best of multicultural London.
It was one of the hottest days of the year but luckily the 100 Club now seems to have working air-con which was bloody good news as Oh! Gunquit and The Courettes certainly raised the temperature with their full-on, no holds barred Rock 'n' Roll assault, just what you expect from two of the most energetic and visually arresting live acts around. Gunquit were so good and everyone got so carried away that there was genuine surprise when the 100 Club turned off the lights and power due to them over-running their set. We wanted more, the band wanted more but the 100 Club said no. It's one of the downsides of Sunday night shows or at venues where they have night clubs after the live music - the curfews are so strict that there's not much chance of squeezing in extra songs or encores despite the crowd reaction. I've lost count of the amount times I've seen Oh! Gunquit play and they never disappoint. They have the originality, the songs, the look, the sound and the unpredictability to make each and every show a unique event that will leave you smiling for days after.
There aren't many bands who would be able to follow Oh! Gunquit, it must be a daunting task - but of course The Courettes are one band who rise to any challenge, and its hard to believe the visual impact this Brazilian/Danish duo can have, especially as one of them is sitting behind a drum-kit for the duration! But Martin Couri is no typical drummer, first of all his kit is positioned at the front of the stage and he's a constant blur of energy, spitting water on his cymbals so that each hit sends a spray out over the audience. Then there's his call and response vocals with Flavia and his badgering of the crowd to join in the singing and chanting and to push themselves to match the band's energy.
When Flavia is not singing she's zooming about the stage leaping on the speakers one minute and then down into the crowd the next, machine gunning us with blistering, instantly memorable riffs. She also sings "Daydream" in fluent Japanese and we are honoured to get a dedication for our help in the special 7" single released to coincide with their Japanese tour by Damaged Goods Records. Their last album "Back In Mono" and the companion "B-Sides and Outtakes" showed a band perfecting their own version of the Phil Spector layered "Wall of Sound" in the studio but live, stripped back to the raw elements of just drums, guitar and vocals, the quality of the song-writing still shines through loud and clear. Talking of quality song-writing, they played two excellent new numbers "Keep Dancing" and "Shake" which promise even better things are still to come from The Courettes - and knowing the 'hardest working band in show business' as I do, I can bet we won't have to wait too long for those good things to come!
All photos copyright Retro Man Blog 2023. Here's the video to their latest single "Tough Like That"...
More of our live videos from the show can be found at our Retromanblog65 YouTube channel here, and don't forget our very special Retrosonic Podcast episode "Presenting the fabulous Courettes" is still available at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Podcasts or direct from our SoundCloud site below.