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Review: 'Dirty Strangers,The And Electrics'
'Live at Acklam Village Market Portobello Road.'   

-  Genre: 'Rock' -  Release Date: '28.10.23.'

Our Rating:
This show was a late-night London special that advertised proudly on the posters that they had a late bar open till 9pm! Not surprising as Acklam Village Hall is the sit-down part of the street food market under the Westway flyover, that has live bands entertaining the Saturday shoppers having a food and drink break. They also boasted the worst toilet facilities we've seen at a gig in years, portaloos with no lights.

We arrived in time to grab pints of Stiff Lip and find a table to sit at just before Electrics came on at 5.30 to play a cocktail hour set, that opened with No Shit that may well also be the opening song of the bands upcoming new album, the vocals were mixed so low in this high ceilinged room I wondered if it was were we were sitting.

Remember had some good memories of the bad old days, which at this location would have meant crack wars, as Robert Jones guitar came through a little low but still with plenty too it.

Broken Hearted was how Alan Blizzard seem to be feeling, trying to get all the heartache across, as Jenny Lane's bassline rooted everything down. Victim Suspect with its lines about mistaken identity gave some of the people sitting at the front such a fright they took to the hills, in case they were discovered, so we moved tables and the sound stayed the same.

Night Falls Down was about late-night shenanigans of the sort that used to happen on Portobello Road every week, it needed more welly in the guitars. Looking Like had the whole band chanting the chorus of Looks Like A Seabird, they then played Natural Born Killer one of my favorite Electrics songs and while it lacked a bit of power it still sounded good.

Jenny then started to play the classic Night Time bassline as the intro into Somebody I Used To Know as that bassline kept going the guitars and drums worked it into a new song that was one of the highlights of the set.

Looking Like has a list of things you may resemble, not all of them in a good way this was a little bit punchier, they then closed with what I guess is called I Say but was probably My City that brought a decent but ragged set to a close, sadly not as great as the set at Portobello live earlier in the year.

Then as the witching hour of 6.30 approached The Dirty Strangers came on to launch the band's latest single Hunters Moon on a night that we did indeed have a Hunters Moon if the clouds had cleared long enough to be able to see it.

The current four-piece line-up of Laurence Fox, Cliff Wright, John Rollason and of course Alan Clayton opened with the first single off of the current Hunters Moon album My Girls A Getaway Driver that also seemed to have quiet vocals and guitars, but still flew by like she was roaring down the Westway escaping everything.

Oh Yeah was low slung and great fun, before they asked the perennial question Who Blew The Whistle On Me as Al wants to know who dobbed him in, when he was up to no good again. R U Satisfied was a good question as I'd have liked a lot more of Alan's guitar in the mix and clearly Cliff wasn't too happy with how his bass was sounding as he switched bass guitars at the end of the song.

Al dedicated Baby to Alistair Symons who wrote the song for the first Dirty Strangers album before they played a good bouncy version, with Cliff's second bass now front and centre of the sound. Liberty Smile had its usual cheeky grin gong on as all the action unfolded.

Easy To Please has a rather nifty solo from John Rollason as Alan really moved about a bit. They then celebrated the bands favorite kind of person on T-T-Troublemaker that had a low-down dirty feel to it.

La La La I Couldn't Care Less is as much about carrying on, no matter what, as it is about not getting caught up in being too precious, as this gritty rock & roll did its best to cut through. Pirates Don't Get Pensions let everyone know how hard it is to keep going knowing you have no index linked pension to fall back on.

Cold Night was almost accurate, it was certainly the coldest night in a while, this was a good slow version. They kept things slow for Diamonds that had John and Cliff joining Al at the main vocal microphone for the harmony chorus that was good and tight.

Al then made sure everyone knew they had copies of the new single for sale before they played Hunters Moon in celebration of that cloud obscured full moon. Slap Bang hit us good and heavy with the bassline really front and centre.

Then Al was looking round the room hoping to hit it lucky on looking For A Girlfriend, and if he didn't find a Girlfriend he was more than happy to settle for some fun with a Bad Girl that as ever are the Dirties kind of girl.

Every once in a while, they get caught in the act and have to hold their Hands Up and they rampaged through it this time as some of us joined in with the hand movements on the chorus.

It was then time to pay tribute to the bands home turf on Shepherds Bush City Limits and playing it beneath the Westway that takes you to Shepherds Bush added to this magnificent romp, what was that we heard over head, was it the rumble of a Gold Cortina I think it was, revving up and ignoring the 30MPH limit on the Westway as it careened down the tarmac once more.

They then close with a good long version of House Party that included the usual band intros and also Alan went into the audience to speak to Laurence Fox's kids who are getting ready to be the third generation of the family to play in the Dirty Strangers, as soon as they are old enough, as they brought a good if a little muted set to a close.

  author: simonovitch

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