[MUSIC ~ UK]
Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Thu 25 Jul.
As the cinematic theme from The Magnificent Seven fades, the four musicians from Bristol that comprise the ersatz Clash walk out onto the stage. ‘Joe’ asks the big crowd, “How are you doing?” (twice) and, satisfied that folks are indeed doing well, leads things off with London Calling, the title track of the album they have come to play. The most notable thing, as the band and the song get into gear, is that the guitars are not nearly loud enough.
Brand New Cadillac comes next, as expected, and the four-piece ensemble warms nicely to the task at hand. The musical and vocal performances are close to spot-on, and ‘Joe’ sounds quite like Joe Strummer. The first album backdrop and choice of guitars add to the air of authenticity. ‘Joe’ gets a warm reaction from the audience as he lauds Australia and his time here thus far. The visual representation is about as close as can be reasonably expected, short of cosmetic surgery, so this probably as good as it gets for Clash fans.
Highlights from the London Calling part of the show are probably the opener, Spanish Bombs, Clampdown, Guns Of Brixton and Death Or Glory.
Some of the between-song banter borders on pantomime, and referring to each other using The Clash members’ real names is questionable, but it’s a tough job striking an ideal balance between creating the right atmosphere and descending into parody for any and all tribute bands.
Leaving the album behind after skilfully executing the first three sides, London Calling serves up a range of songs from The Clash songbook. I Fought The Law heats things up, and this is followed by Train In Vain, Clash City Rockers and Complete Control. There’s a “Good night!” before the players leave the stage for a few seconds…
The encore kicks off with English Civil War, before the first post-London Calling songs are presented. Rock The Casbah and Should I Stay Or Should I Go are interesting encore choices (Bankrobber anyone?) but they go down alright. White Riot is a perfect closer.
Despite the lack of volume and edge to the guitar sound, the songs have been faithfully and respectfully presented, and the crowd has obviously appreciated the passionate performances of all concerned. They have sung along all night. The bonus songs were, in the main, well-selected and provided a little more breadth to the evening.
When all is said and done, no-one is ever going to see The Clash again and, if this is the best we have, then it is just about enough. Well played boys.
by David Robinson.
Image courtesy of David Robinson