I don't know about you but I can't think of a much better way to spend a rainy Sunday morning than playing loud electric guitar. Well it's been a good way to spend this morning anyway! Myself, old friend/fellow guitar bore Paul Cope and former Pro Music Saturday boy Ian Smart booked ourselves 3 hours at Ruff Rockers rehearsal studio in Uxbridge for the express purpose of getting as many of our guitars and amps in the same room as we could, turning them up VERY LOUD and... well, spending the best part of said 3 hours laughing ourselves senseless at the sounds we were making. I took down my recently acquired Fender Blues Deville amplifier and a selection of guitars, Paul bought a Marshall Vintage Modern 50W combo with various axes and effect pedals while Ian bought down his ever-expanding pedal board along with his customised Telecaster. It soon became clear that 3 hours wasn't long enough as we found ourselves obsessing over the differences between the sound of P90 pick-ups on 2 different Gibson guitars (a Les Paul and an SG since you ask) whilst marvelling at the sounds Ian was getting out of his Electro Harmonix guitar synthesiser and being highly amused by the fact that the tone controls on Marshall amplifiers don't actually seem to alter the sound coming out if it in any way. I realise that this may not be everyone's idea of a morning well spent- but how else would we have found that an Ibanez Tube Screamer pedal sounds a lot smoother than it's forerunner the Maxon OD808?!?
And it was a cracking evening on Friday at The Islington Academy, with The Godfathers sounding even better than they did at The Forum back in February. I met up with Andy Knight and co. in The Nags Head just after 7 p.m. (judging by his demeanour I'd say he'd already been there a while!) and, since we were under the impression that it was an early show as there's a late night club at the venue on Fridays, myself and a ticketless Fat Tom (he calls himself that, honest!) got to the venue just before 8 o'clock to make sure that he got in. In the event the club wasn't happening so we could have got there later' though it was good to catch the last few songs by first support band The Jooks of Kent, a trio whose guitar-harmonica-and-female-drummer line-up bought inevitable White Stripes comparisons to mind, 'though I thought them a bit more 'garage-y' than that, if you know what I mean. Good trashy stuff, as were The Jim Jones Revue who followed them with a set of mostly original rock'n'roll songs enlivened by some fine Jerry Lee-isms by the keyboard man and a great moment after the first song when the singer called for 'my hat-man' to collect his no-longer-needed headgear. If they had a weakness it was, sadly, their songs- with no backing vocals (why not?!?) in a band the lead voice has to carry everything, and for me it very rarely does. Still they certainly get on with it- worth catching again methinks.
Opening with 'This Damn Nation' and fresh from a gig in Belgium the night before The Godfathers were clearly in no mood for trivialities. Mind you, were they ever? Kris Dollimore sounded fabulous playing a '70's Stratocaster and a Danelectro 56 Pro through a Blues Deville- I told you they were good!- and if Peter Coyne's voice sounded just a little bit rougher than we all remember it then it didn't effect his stage presence which remains the very definition of rock'n'roll attitude. By the last encore of 'Cold Turkey' they'd confirmed their place in my mind as one of the most underrated bands ever. Oh and Coyne invited the entire audience for a drink in the upstairs bar after the show. Excellent!