I finally managed to decide to go to this gig about 24 hours before it happened, having heard that Dave Kusworth had once again had a special guest appearance earlier in the week with Chuck Prophet in Birmingham. Unlike the infamous Dingwall's appearance, he hadn't embarrassed himself.
So I got into the Hope and Anchor and down into the Rockaway Beach basement for Rockaway Beach 18 and made it in just before opening act Moto Vamp came on. They opened with a brash version of Beat On The Brat that Lily's Joan Jett style vocals are simply made for.The next full-on garage rocker was full of typical Baby Come on style lyrics and super speedy guitars.
I really liked I Want You To Be My Love Slave. It was sort of Runaways meets the Pandoras as they try to outdo each other - a great song. The song about being a Night Owl that followed just went by in a blur and the guitars were really getting faster even if the drummer at times seemed to be playing a few notes too many.
They did a cool cover of Rambling Rose to get everyone singing along. Then they were going on about Mechanical Love and it sounded like you really needed not to cross Lily in anyway as she's one mean Biker Chick - at least in the song. I assume that Silver Lake was about where someone in the band comes from but it was another hyper garage rocker with a cool scuzzy edge to it.
Do The Diss was the band's dance craze rocker and we all want to Do the Diss with them. That's before they fall into The Abyss, which some great distortion on it, a very cool tune. They then closed with Want You To Be Mine which was about as sultry as they could get and that's only if you think Kim Shattuck-style vocals are sultry, but either way they were a great opening act.
Next on were The Vulz who took the slow boat down from Barnet having torn themselves away from hanging out trying to look cool in The Spires (almost impossible and this reviewer will spend part of today there too).
The opening song was all about How Dangerous they were, well not too dangerous from the sound of it. They did sound a bit sloppy with a good few bum notes though that was later explained by the fact they had the bass player's brother playing with them.
Do You Kick (or whatever the next song was called) wasn't much better, no matter how much the guitarist with the LAMF tattoo was trying. It sounded more like Rick Blaze than the Heartbreakers. I don't think anyone was asking the band to play it again after hearing Casablanca: a so-so tune that needed something to lift it a bit.
Love Struck at least sounded heartfelt and the vocal delivery had plenty of passion even if they still didn't sound totally together. So when the singer was then pleading to be Left Alone I'd have been more than willing to agree with him, only they were finally starting to sound like they were half decent.
At least the songs didn't hang around and whatever Get On Me was really called didn't make mush difference as no matter how enthusiastic they were the crowd was starting to thin a little which meant the best song of the set, OD On Neon, wasn't heard by as many people as it should have. Shame, as it was easily the best song they played.
Shelf Life wasn't a plea to get signed to one of the best Shoegaze labels around but more about how we are all disposable these days. They finished with TCL and I have no idea what it's short for but it went by in a blur and I was happy when Timmy Derella put on that tribute song to Barnet Gate, Brickfield Nights by The Boys, as I always think of it, driving by Brickfield Lane.
Finally it was time for Dave Kusworth who looked a lot healthier than he has in the past and seems to be walking without the stick he's been using for the last few years. It was good to see he had Darrell Bath on lead guitar along with Chris McDougall on Bass and Martin Farrow on drums.
They opened with Dave dedicating the first song, Depressed, to yet another departed friend. It sounded way better than it could have done as Dave's voice sounded miraculously better than it has done for quite a while and the guitars sounded great. Over & Over is what I have the next song down as and it sounded fine with Dave's vocals working really well. With Chris's backing vocals added in, they sounded like the louche rock & roll band we were all willing them to be.
Everything's For Her sounded so poignant and full of the doomed romanticism that has been so central to Dave's career, it was just wonderful. Dave then introduced the next song as What Can I Do Now? It was another heart-wrenching love song about how you move on, full of Darrell's spectral guitar playing.
I think they did The Story So Far next and kept to the idea that the drums can sound like they are falling down the stairs and still be perfect. Yes this is the art of falling apart writ large, yet still sounding tight. The love had gone all wrong again as Dave sang about where did we go and well, yes, they may have had other priorities
Still, The Hustler sounded like Dave and the boy's game plan as the last of the old school Rock & Roll Hustlers. Shame For The Angels saw most of us singing along and it sounded just brilliant. They then played a couple of songs that I'm not familiar with at all, but they were no weaker than the rest of this set.
Then Dave asked one of those questions that sum up the kind of artist you are as he inquired if you are seeking Fortune Or Fame? When instead he was always destined for Infamy. This came before they closed the set with a very cool version of No Fun that morphed into 96 Tears and back to No Fun that really got everyone going and guaranteed an encore.
They came back if they ever really left the stage and played a brilliant and long version of Kings & Queens with Dave emphasising how they would be riding black horses. A very cool end to a great set and it was so good to see him playing as well as this once more.