GIG: PIPELINE Convention 2009, featuring The Secrets, The Razorblades, Indra and Move It! Happy Daze, The Foot Tappers
DATE: April 12th 2009
VENUE: Metropolitan Police Sports Club, Bushey
COST: £15 advance ticket
RATING: Standing in the Shadows
Last year on Easter Sunday at the Pipeline Convention, (http://www.pipelinemag.co.uk/) we had to scrape the ice from the car. This time it was a glorious spring day. It’s always worrying going to somewhere with CD stalls up and running. You never know how much you’ll spend.
First band up were The Secrets who seemed to include half the folk who write for the Pipeline magazine. They performed a handful of Ventures tunes and also did a great version of the theme tune for the old TV series “Callan.” An unusual addition to the band was the use of a six stringed bass. The set was finished with an excellent version of George Martin’s “Theme 1.”
Things livened up considerably when The Razorblades from Germany took to the stage. Once again, a writer from Pipeline was in the line up. This three piece raised the bar with stonking covers of “Hawaii 5-0,” “Miserlou,” the Godfather theme and The Lively Ones’ “Surfrider.” Their own original numbers were powerhouses and we ended up buying their new CD. They finished off with an old favourite, “Rawhide.” The audience really seemed to like this band.
The afternoon settled down a bit when Indra Rajah and Move It! took to the stage. Indra and drummer Junior Weerasinghe come from that rock and roll hot spot…Sri Lanka! If a Cadburys Cream Egg could make music, it would sound like this band. They are obviously influenced by The Shadows, and came to life a little when they played the William Tell Overture. They did save the best till last when they covered Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” and the drummer drummed the bass guitar!
Happy Daze brought some light relief to the day from the main man in the band, Malcolm Lenny who had a great sense of humour. Malcolm looked as if he could have been Suggs’ dad. He was once a member of The Packabeats who recorded a few singles with the legendary Joe Meek. The band did well for not really having rehearsed much and for being primarily a ‘singing’ band as well, although they did look like the musical equivalent of the TV programmes “New Tricks.” They started off with Red River Rock, and continued with a lot of songs that all managed to sound like Tequila. Problems with the keyboard didn’t dampen their spirit, and they carried on regardless.
Finishing off the day was a group of youngsters called The Foot Tappers. As the name suggests, there was a large selection of Shadows tunes in this set. They did have the benefit of having former Shadow Brian “Licorice” Locking playing bass with them though. This band was very polished, and young Daniel Martin on lead really knows these songs inside out, but the highlight of their set funny enough was Tim Jackson’s drum solo. Normally a drum solo would have me thinking, “Oh no!” But this one was just great. He even managed to get a drum “call and response” from the audience during it. They were joined by Jim Walters on keyboard for a version of Booker T and the MGs “Time Is Tight”. Mark Knopfler’s theme from “Local Hero” helped add to the slight variation from The Shadows fest.
With any event that features guitar instrumental bands, there is always a danger of a constant stream of Shadows soundalikes. Very pleased to say that the organisers of the Pipeline convention, Alan & Dave, really line up a variety of bands. Coupled with a well engineering set up which ensured that, with the unfortunate exception of the keyboard problems during Happy Daze’s set, technical difficulties and sound problems were non-existent and the whole event ran extremely smoothly. This was a good 7 hours of alternating between watching bands playing and sifting through racks of CDs and DVDs for sale, with a spot of lunch taken in the middle and a retreat to the “bar” during an interval to get some liquid refreshment whilst listening to some very good youngsters trying out the guitar karaoke.
And the loos? Well only the ladies were road tested, but these were in fine shape. Maybe helped by the fact that the room was filled predominantly with males so the ladies didn’t have too many visitors! The décor was pale pink, and quite 70’s with the old type pull chain flush. I suspect the gents were a pale blue…..