Monday 23 July 2018

The Killers 0 - Intimacy 2. Trojan Sound System: Latitude Festival, 14 July 2018

Fifty years young 
What is it with me and the Killers? In 2010 I needed the loo at the V Festival and came back to find I'd lost my friend in the crowd waiting to see the band. Festival-tired, I retired to the big tent for a rest. And I found myself watching Peter Doherty put on an intimate, fantastic performance; made all the sweeter by the fact that I'd stumbled over it. 

Fast forward to Latitude 2018 and it was impossible to get to see the stage where the Killers were obviously killing it. So I went with instinct and turned up to see an act called Trojan Sound System. Except there were only four of us in the tent. There were 40,000 watching the Killers. But soon the reggae started and three guys came to the microphones and began. Ten minutes later the tent had gone from four punters to 400. 

Trojan effort 

I'd stumbled again. My plans to go back to the Killers were scuppered as these guys put on such a great show to celebrate 50 years of the Trojan record label. Wikipedia says: 'Trojan was instrumental in introducing reggae to a global audience and by 1970 had secured a series of major UK chart hits.'

I think you had to be of a certain age because when they played Night Nurse by Gregory Isaacs - and the three singers did their own interpretation - we all knew all the words and the little tent was heaving with nostalgia. And then the same happened with Dawn Penn's No, No, No. I had such a fantastic time, all on my own. 


In 2000 I bought a few Trojan box sets and remember, all that summer, only listening to reggae, to the exclusion of everything else. I love some of the songs that the box sets introduced me to, for instance, Bangarang by Lester Sterling and Stranger Cole. 

But back to the gig and the Dad dancing was pretty bad. I include myself in this because I'm no dancer at the best of times; but when attempting to bop to the Trojan beat...well I'm glad that people were using their phones to video the Killers and not us. Yet it didn't matter. A man near me, probably in his late 60s, was doing a very-unreggae-ish Highland Fling. And the really cool security guard who came along and made all the right movements (He was younger but I suspect that he was feeling nostalgia for his parents' record collection) - he didn't care we couldn't move right. 

Listen up 

The lead singer kept getting the DJ to stop and wind the records back to the start because he wanted to keep telling us that there was love in the tent, on the anniversary of Trojan's birth.  And it's made me want to listen to lots more reggae. Who knows: perhaps I'll spend the rest of the summer listening to only reggae.  

I'm excited about the next time the Killers headline a festival. I'd love to see them, but suspect I might get distracted by something more intimate and memorable that I stumble across. 

Sunday 22 April 2018

The Pied Piper of cover bands. The Scratch Band: Water Rats, 21 April 2018

The Scratch Band belting out another winner
The thing is: I used to work with the lead singer, Pamela. I'm so glad I didn't have to write a review where I had to - rather embarrassingly - report that her band 'were OK.' So, I declare an interest. But I also declare that I'm interested...

Because they were fantastic. They aren't just a run-of-the-mill covers band. OK; content-wise, they play out diverse numbers from yesteryear (Martha and the Muffins) and nowadays (Noel Gallagher). But lead singer Pamela's great in a party / wedding scenario because it's like she gets under your skin and you have to start dancing. Like the Pied Piper of covers bands. 

In  these reviews I know I keep banging on about stage presence and the importance of 'talking between the tracks' but Pamela is so good at that - and at getting the crowd going. The band had birthday guests dancing from the start. There was no time to take a breath. 

So if you want to book in a band for your event then think about the Scratch Band. And declare an interest...