Wednesday, 27 August 2014

14/1/2012 Sidewalk Driver @ The World's End (Finsbury Park not Camden)

SubjectSidewalk Driver @ The World's End (Finsbury Park not Camden)
DateCreated1/15/2012 6:03:00 PM

First gig of the year for me - new bands in a 'new' venue. Well, a venue I haven't been to for years anyway. Quite an interesting night as it turns out. So this Saturday evening finds me at the World's End in Finsbury Park - makes a change from the one in Camden. Basically it's a pub venue - more pub than venue really, but it's free to get in and they serve a good selection of real ales.

Not cheap mind, but still quite a bit cheaper than you'll pay for a vastly inferior pint in most London's proper music venues.

It's years since I've been to this pub - I used to visit it once to see my favourite cover band of the time. The place was painted black inside like a rock venue when I first came here, then they re-decorated and made it a bit more pub like. It's been refurbed yet again since then and is now like a traditional pub. One step backwards for live music is that what used to be an open dance floor area in front of the stage is now filled with tables and chairs and food is served there.
This does not make for a good music venue and kills the atmosphere.
It inhibits a rock 'n' roll crowd from dancing and having a good time. 

The evenings gets off to a slow start with one or two acoustic acts. This just acts as background music for the people eating and no one takes much notice. Next is a very lacklustre electric band called (I think) Rebellion Parade. There is not much rebellion in evidence on stage - just some rather bland and characterless indie music played seemingly without much enthusiasm. Next up is an anonymous power (not) trio with a girl drummer who are at least an improvement on what has gone on before. They looked all leather jackets and Marshall amps when they were hanging around the pub an hour earlier and it looked like we might be in for some serious ROCK action, but that's not what they deliver onstage at all - far more indie/alt rock and nothing to grab you.

Then at last things really start to liven up. The next band is Sidewalk Driver. This lot are from Aerosmith's home town Boston in the USA and are making their first visit to the UK to play a handful of London dates.

There are obviously some fans here tonight just to see them, and for the first time all evening there is some real enthusiasm in the air - both from the audience and the band.

This is the most interesting band I've seen for a while. They are an odd mixture, with the singer being a totally over the top glamster, while the rest of the band are very solidly based in 1970's American rock.

The singer Tad is a very good frontman and a pretty decent singer, but image wise is totally at odds with the rest of the band in their all black shirts/jeans and sneakers. Apparently this is quite deliberate.

For the first time tonight there is cheering and real excitement in the air - you start to feel you are actually at an event rather than just watching another band go through the motions. Glitter bombs are set off and there is a real atmoshere - finally you are being entertained by a band. And apart from the theatrics and charisma of the frontman, the rest of Sidewalk Driver are a really good band. They even throw is a Queen cover - something very few bands ever attempt. They pull of a really good version of 'Keep Yourself Alive' which wins over a lot of people who were unfamiliar with the band's own material - which isn't bad itself either.

Sidewalk Driver end their show with a bang, and leave you wondering how anyone is going to follow that. I think most other bands would hate to go on after such a performance. I'd certainly go and see this band again.

The next band is (again I think but may have got them and Rebellion Parade mixed up) The Beautiful Game. This lot come on looking like a bunch of chavs - it's not promising. They look really fucking dreadful - more like they are going to pick a fight rather than play music. However, once they start playing they actually sound pretty good - much to my surprise to be honest.

The super-chav singer is brimming with attitude and I don't think you'd want to spill his pint - he looks like he'd be more than happy to start something if you were so careless. The rest of the band look more like a bunch of oiks from the pub than musicians, although they can certainly play OK. Singer aside they are devoid of charisma or stage presence of any sort - instantly forgettable. It seems such an obvious cliche, but you feel you are watching 'the new Oasis' like when that band played their first London show at the tiny Water Rats - but that time has come and gone, and like another really good band in the same chav/football lads in the pub vein called Copious several years ago I think their window of opportunity has since closed...

Final act tonight is this monthly club's 'House Band' Peter Parker's Rock 'N' Roll Club. The promoter introduces them and says they will carry on playing for as long as we want.... It turns out to be the same 3 piece band with the girl drummer we saw earlier. They sound better this time round as the guitar is turned up louder - but still not loud enough. I find this a bit of a let-down for the 'headline' act. The play a couple of extended jams which seem to go on for ages without ever leading anywhere - more background music, only there aren't many people left to play to. It seems more like a pub jam night and leaves me feeling even I could do that. A bit of an anti-climax in the end and I'd have skipped the last beer and left to catch an earlier train if I'd known the night would end like this. It's been an interesting night all the same and it was certainly worth checking the place out. Maybe I'll have to keep an eye on what's going on music wise at this pub in future...

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