has reviewed my group's show at The Rifleman
. Here's what he had to say:"He’s doing his first gig tonight – can you take the children?"
Not a particularly rock and roll invitation from the missus to the opening night of David Sinclair's min-tour with his new band to promote his first album. But he is a friend and neighbour and he has driven my daughter to the bus stop every school day for years. So this is how it was going to be.
David has been loyal to his first love – rock ‘n’ roll – for longer than he would probably care to remember. As an author, he fascinated with his account of the trials and tribulations of the Spice Girls. As a rock critic, he has kept the feet-up pop-picking Times-reading classes abreast of all the latest developments in rock for more than a decade.
David Sinclair’s love of rock goes further than this. His agreeable terraced house in fashionable Hammersmith’s has a backroom den of rhythm and blues iniquity, with a vast drum kit, de-tuned piano and as many guitars and amplifiers as are needed to refine a rare talent: that of the rock and roll polymath.
The Rifleman at Hounslow is few people’s idea of a great place for a night out – certainly there weren’t many drinkers in the front bar. But those who were there were clearly deaf to the events unfolding in the outsized shoebox at the back of the pub, lovingly described, by the landlord whose directions we sought for access to the gig, as "Outside".
It might just as well have been. It is one of the great truths of Rock and Roll that the more dispiriting and unappealing the venue (dirty, dark, damp), the more the real thing, if you are lucky enough to find it, will elevate the spirits and souls of those present. This was always going to be a challenging gig, but David’s discernible vocals, easy charm and magnetism ("This is everything I hoped for"), cadenced by the coruscating treble mix of his trusty Telecaster, kept us absorbed and distracted from the freezing temperature. Drew Farmer’s totally steady drums propelled the show. There was little to distract the band from its proper task of getting down and dirty for our pleasure.
All the band’s new material from Hey, their first album, was covered along with a brace of unrecorded numbers. The outstanding moments are found in the signature dish, Dusted and Rusted, which has the feel of a song that could have been written and recorded any time in the last thirty years and will never date.
The witty lyrics Fajita Hell ("Went out looking for a Taco Belle/Ended up with Fajita Hell"), the intelligent up-tempo topicality of Down With Whatever, the simple swinging drum breaks of the George Harrisonesque Bouquet of Weeds and the cool major chord riff of Life’s Too Serious (a Stones lick in another life?) all prove the versatility and originality of the DS band within the often confined limits of three piece rock.
Pennies on a Plate, another swinging number with a light six/eight feel, bluesily recounts the downs and further downs of marrying the imperative of earning a crust, dealing with the demands of family life and fending off the constant demands made on us all as we go about our business in the city that is London.
With the DS Band, their deft lightness of touch belies the harshness of our gritty shared urban reality. Their gig sends us out into the grubby winter world refreshed and alert to the need to do what we want with our lives - as David Sinclair and his band are doing.
That’s a kind of liberation. As the man himself says - Hey! Check out the band when they pass through your town.