GIG: Argent (with support from Curved Air & Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash)
DATE: Monday 13th December 2010
VENUE: HMV Forum, Kentish Town, London
COST: £22.50 (plus 3.25 booking fee per ticket!)
RATING: I Do Believe In Miracles

Way back in 1972, a young freckle-faced 16 year old began his life-long love of watching live bands when he went with his mates to Greens Playhouse in Glasgow (later known rather more famously as the Apollo) to see Argent. And he was smitten!

Thousands of gigs, and 38 years later, that same boy, for it was The Beeb, was on his way to the HMV Forum in Kentish Town, London, to see Argent again. He wasn’t worried about the gig being a let down, because he’d seen Rod and Jim many times before with The Zombies and knew how good they were. A charity gig a couple of years ago where Russ Ballard was MD also proved the Shaded One still had “IT.”

We arrived at the venue just in time to hear the last couple of songs from Curved Air. The Beeb remembers having a poster of singer Sonja Kristina on his bedroom wall as a teenager. What we did hear sounded as if it wasn’t too bad. Sonja’s voice and hair still sounded and looked great though,

I thought seeing last weeks middle-aged Mods at the Paul Weller gig was an eye opener, but having a look around during the break here convinced me that old hippies never die...they just grey away! I can’t remember the last time I saw an ELP T-shirt and so much long hair. Still, you knew this was a crowd that liked good music too!

Martin Turner
Next up was Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash. Another favourite band from The Beeb’s youth. There have been a lot of personnel squabbling over the years between band members, and to be honest we don’t know the politics behind it all. But seeing as we’re both big Beach Boys fans, we know how these things can be. So we came with an open mind just to hear the music.

The band came on with Martin looking a bit rock starry in his leather trousers and long white Nudie type shirt. “Argus” is what the words “Classic Album” were put together for, and the band played four songs in a row from it to start the set. “The King Will Come,” “The Warrior,” “Throw Down The Sword” and, as Martin described it, the happier “Blowing Free.”

We also got another classic in “Jailbait.” The famed Wishbone Ash twin lead guitar was expertly shown when the two guitarists played each others guitars at the same time! It was nice how Martin slipped into the background to let the guitarists do their showmanship bit.

At the end during the band introductions, we got a bit of “Jingle Bells, “a short drum solo and guitarist Danny Wilson introducing Martin in a faux Spanish (Mexican?) accent for some reason. This was when we realised Danny played with Minty’s old favourites, Showaddywaddy when we saw them at The Stables. She cornered him afterwards for a chat and he was very gracious.

Having come with open minds, it has to be said Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash are a class act. Great song and great harmonies, plus entertaining to watch. Although the set was old classics, we think we’ll have to check out some of Martin’s newer stuff because he’s obviously a great songwriter.

The speed of the turn around of the bands actually caught us on the hop. While chatting to Danny and Martin the next thing we knew Argent had walked on to the stage.
Luckily we had great seats, three rows from the front and smack bang in the middle.

Russ Ballard
As The Beeb drooled at Russ’s Strat and Marshall stack, the first thing Minty said was “Oh, he looks fit!” It has to be said, Russ could easily pass for someone half his age. They opened up with the start of “The Coming Of Kohoutek,” the first track on the last Argent album Russ played on. Then we got “It’s Only Money” parts one and two before Rod went into “Keep On Rollin.”
Minty was particularly impressed by Bob drumming on “Dance Of Ages,” as well as Russ’s vocals on “Be Free.” There was some great bluesy guitar on “Sweet Mary,” before the crowd started a sing-a-long with Rod’s old Zombies hit, “She’s Not There.”

At this point Colin Blunstone was pointed out in the audience, before Russ took over the keyboards to perform a beautiful version of the song he wrote, and Colin had the big hit with, “I Don’t Believe In Miracles.” This is a personal favourite of The Beeb’s, and thought it was worth the near forty year wait for this one alone!

The HMV Forum really started to rock when, after Russ played an Irish jig, the band went into “Since You’ve Been Gone.” He even managed to somehow work the intro into the lead break during the song! The place was jumping by this time. And what better number to end with but, “Hold Your Head Up.” Always a favourite when Rod and Colin play together, this song is timeless.

Rod Argent
Of course there was an encore, and that was “God Gave Rock And Roll To You.” The perfect one to end on. There was another great crowd sing-a-long with this. By this time Russ had his famous old Fender with the holes in it, and he did his trick of throwing it up in the air and almost firing it out to the audience too.

Russ Ballard
This may have been a bit of a trip down memory lane for The Beeb, but without a doubt this was a band that seemed glad to be playing together today. Who knows, maybe they could get back together sometime in a studio. We can’t wait another 38 years for that to happen though.

That wasn’t the end of the excitement for us tonight though. It was nearly midnight, and on the way home we were pulled over by the police just as we reached the house. Blue lights flashing and everything. They were just checking the car wasn’t stolen. Amazingly they already had our details before stopping us, so we were OK. Thank god they didn’t check the boot!!!

The Beeb after the gig, clutching the Set List!

1 comment:

  1. Another very enjoyable SAGA night out, you are never too old too rock and roll.
    God only knows how you endured those seats.
    I gave up after Curved Air and stood for the rest of the concert.
    For me the bands were actually in the wrong order, Had not seen Curved Air for 30 yrs till this year and have seen them twice and MTWA 3 times this year, each time very enjoyable.
    Still think Capability Brown did a better version of Liar, but really enjoyed she's not there.