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Review: 'The Dirty Strangers, White Raven Down,'
'Black Lightning, 10 Gauge'   

-  Album: 'Live at The Monarch Camden'
-  Genre: 'Rock' -  Release Date: '7.9.19.'

Our Rating:
This show is part of the Camden Rocks Presents series of gigs at The Monarch this series of shows are all ages and in true festival style It's an early doors afternoon special. This one worked in a slightly odd way as it had two headline bands bookending the bill and I need to apologize to Angerland that I didn't stay to hear them close this day's music.

We arrived nice and early to make sure we were on time to see The Dirty Strangers play a set starting at 4 pm and I'm glad to see that Scottie Mulvey is back on keyboards after recovering from a Stroke and is alongside John Proctor on bass and Guy Griffin on guitar and Lol Fox on drums with of course The Dirty Stranger himself Alan Clayton fronting this mob of reprobates.

They opened with Special Girl that got a good few smiles before Alan asked us all Are You Satisfied well not just yet but we would be as soon as he flashed his Liberty Smile at us and made sure to say hello to all the bands family members in the audience as it appeared there were four generations of Claytons in the room as well as a good few family members of the rest of the band making it like a family get together.

The question though was who were the families Troublemaker that seemed to go a bit wonky in the middle, but not as wonky as Baby did as John Proctor broke his top string halfway through it but barely missed a note. Alan then looked round the room and told us about how she was A Real Botticelli with a cheeky grin on his face.

Alan only realized about the bass string when the soundman had located Johns spare string and was trying to help him change it between songs and as they played Diamonds with bass for some of it while it still romped along as that top string refused to wind on properly. Still Alan wanted to Talk To Me and make sure we all talked to him still by the time they played Hands up the top bass string was finally back fully working as they got quite a few of us singing along.

Alan asked if anyone had come from the other side of the water and as no one said yes South Of The River was that place most of us keep out of like it should be. Then Alan was looking round the audience at who might touch his Stuff and as his mum was in the audience he promised he wouldn't be swearing at anyone either. Even if he did then question how many Bad girls were in The Monarch.

Still they had a proper rave up on Shepherds Bush City Limits before they all rushed off to a House Party that would have to be a properly family one this time. They closed with the as ever magnificent and falling apart Gold Cortina that you could easily imagine roaring up Chalk Farm Road. As ever they left everyone smiling.

Next on were White Raven Down a heavy rock band from Southend who judging by the bands set up and the huge pedal boards both the guitarist and bassist used are ready and are playing this gig as if they are headlining Wembley stadium rather than playing in The Monarch! From the opening number that may have been called Mind Reader they sound like a good tight band with a strong Gillan or Fastway kind of feel and Broken Door kept that going even if they didn't seem to be using anywhere near as many effects as they'd brought along.

Still they made sure we wouldn't forget them when the singer decided to ask us all if we knew Queen and no one answered so he asked again and then rather than playing a cover he tried to do Freddie Mercury's call and response Live Aid intro to the consternation of most of the audience who didn't join in, it was in the end quite funny and did leave them in need of Salvation that was the song they closed a short and ok set. They would be a perfect opening act on a metal bill at The Underworld.

Black Lightning are a bunch of guys all of whom have been about a bit who are playing mainly covers but doing everything they can to make them their own. They had a pretty southern blues rock feel to them and opened with what I think may have been Ike Perkins Riding With The Blues played at a hell of a pace they were all really going for it. Still as you'd expect they sing about Rye Whiskey and play like they need to down a bottle of it between them just to get on stage, however unlikely that is at this time of day.

They then get Barry Warren from The Snakeoil Rattlers up to blow some harp on the Allman Brothers Trouble No More as they tore through it and made it sound really cool. Mark Jackson the bands singer then made a heartfelt dedication to one of the bands members who committed suicide before they sang God In Heaven Only Knows that was a fitting tribute to a fallen member. They closed with a roaring run through AC DC's Touch Too Much that got a good few people smiling.

Next on were 10 Gauge a rather too bland for my tastes hard rock band who really didn't hold my attention very well. Dirty Little Rich Girl needed to sound a whole lot sleazier than it did to really work and no matter how many other bands I've seen the guitarist show up in over the years this is not his best one, Your Own Flood was sort of ok but while trying to keep ourselves interested enough to stay for Angerland's set we took a seat for a while but really they didn't keep us wanting to hear anymore so we left as the band that would normally be on first kept on playing.

All in though not a bad afternoons music and certainly good fun.
  author: simonovitch

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