Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: Adrian Hextall (Photographer/Live Gig reporter Myglobalmind Webzine
The entrance to the 100 Club on London’s busy Oxford Street is a blink and you’ll miss it affair. Yet, live music has been played at 100 Oxford Street since 24th October 1942. For some 20+ years the venue focused on jazz music before becoming known for rhythm and blues in the 1960s and showcasing some of the best punk bands of the 70s.
Many bands who went on to become world famous also played the club at this time including The Who, The Kinks and The Pretty Things to name a few. The Rolling Stones and Metallica have used the club for secret warm up shows before world tours and festivals as well so headliners The Brew tonight find themselves on hallowed ground with the opportunity to deliver perhaps a legendary set that will go down in history as well.
Before the 3 lads from Grimsby take to the stage, support comes from Aaron Keylock and Federal Charm.
Sixteen year old Aaron is a talented young man and is attracting major interest having cut his teeth at the age of 12 around the London blues clubs. He looks every inch the cool retro blues guitarist and whilst a good meal wouldn’t go amiss, his skinny frame bounces around the stage pulling off some classy blues licks adding some solid vocals to the mix as well.
Because of the stage layout tonight (wide but not deep) his rhythm section sit at the other end separated by the headliners covered drum kit. It’s not ideal but overall they are energised with drummer Sonny Greaves driving the groove and bassist Jordan Maycock looking like a young Paul McCartney complete with Macca’s signature bass guitar.
A solid opening set that will please fans of Rory Gallagher. It certainly confirmed the rumors that Aaron is someone to keep an eye out for in the next few years.
Against the grain
If trouble was money
Sadness in wealth
In times like these
Give me a chance to explain
Next up are Federal Charm who began as the brainchild of frontmen Nick Bowden and Paul Bowe in the summer of 2011. Having already managed to get a full page spread in the first ever edition of ‘Classic Rock presents… The Blues’ the band is clearly on the up at the moment. They too play solid retro blues rock and cite Free and Led Zeppelin with a modern melodic twist to give their sound an original feel.
Again the elephant in the room is sadly The Brew’s drum kit in the middle of the stage but with nowhere else for it to go, it does at times look like two bands playing on stage at the same time. Stage Left (as the crowd looks at it) sees the dual guitar partnership between Nick and Paul and Stage Right features the rhythm section of Danny and LD.
The first thing noticeable about the music however is how well the dual guitar approach works for these guys. Nick Bowden’s vocal and guitar combo drives a great song but when added to Paul Bowe’s lead guitar work, the whole sound is raised to another level. It’s a real shame they are playing to crowd of no more than 50-60 but those that are in attendance receive the band as warmly as they do the headliners later on in the evening.
Nick and Paul clearly have a blast and the interplay between them brings to mind the classic partnerships of Jagger / Richards, Townsend/ Daltrey and more. Danny Rigg is a whirlwind of arms on the drums and L.D can best be described as the quiet man of the band but keeps the rhythm going with some smooth playing.
It’s another solid set that makes the £10 entry fee to get in tonight seem like an absolute steal and also makes you wonder why such a cheap night out can’t attract more people to witness live music at its’ best.
Federal Charm are:
Nick Bowden – Vocals & Guitar
Paul Bowe – Lead guitar
Danny Rigg – Drums
L.D. Morawski – Bass
Headliners The Brew have just released 4th album ‘Control’ to rave reviews everywhere including a solid 10/10 on this site. Given this solid musical foundation, you would be forgiven for assuming that by now The Brew would have developed a solid fan base in their home country. Success in their home country has, however, been slow in coming. Move to the other side of the North Sea and immediately you find a band that people have heard of and especially in Germany where they have emulated The Beatles and made significant name for themselves headlining prestigious music show ‘Rockpalast’ and winning an award (as voted for by the public) for most popular band.
‘Repeat’ (as with the Control album) opens their set tonight and shows an edge and fire to a band clearly keen to impress and build that UK fan base. The crowd is multi-national and we get many cheers as the band rattle off greetings such as ‘Welcome’ , ‘Bienvenido’ , ‘Bienvenue’ , ‘Willkommen’ and more.. before one of the few tracks from their earlier albums ‘Master and the Puppeteer’ is played.
The focus tonight is clearly based around the positive reviews for ‘Control’ as no less than 8 of the 13 songs tonight feature on it. ‘Mute’ , ‘Pause’ ‘Shuffle’ and ‘Eject’ soon follow and lead guitarist and vocalist Jason Barwick gets to bounce around to the groove laid down by whirlwind drummer Kurt Smith and bassist Tim Smith. Barwick spends more time in the air than on his feet but never once misses a note as he flies around the stage.
Tim Smith’s bass work brings back memories of the intricacies that only John Entwhistle could achieve and Kurt Smith’s drum work sits comfortably between Bonham’esque power and manic flailing of Keith Moon. Tim Smith often states that he writes the lyrics with vocalist Roger Daltrey in mind and you can hear Barwick delivering on that desire on many of the songs on offer tonight. A stand out vocalist in his own right, there are far worse people you could be compared to; and if Roger & Co. need a support for that 50th anniversary tour then it would be a match made in heaven.
For a three piece with so much energy they still harmonize on the hooks and choruses effortlessly and prove that the time spent in Germany over the last few years has done more than just pay the bills; it’s turned them into a very lean engine that know how to deliver a show regardless of crowd size.
‘A Million Dead Stars’ from the album of the same name leads the encore and the lengthier track proves the band can weave classic Cream with The Who and throw in a little psychedelia as well. Although (as confirmed by Tim in an interview to be published shortly on Myglobalmind) the song titles are not part of a concept or themed towards the playback of music, ‘Repeat’ does in fact seem an ideal way to end the set as I and many others here tonight would be more than happy to ‘do it all over again’
Master and the Puppeteer
Every Gig Has A Neighbour
A Million Dead Stars
Jason Barwick – Vocals / guitars
Tim Smith – Bass guitar / vocals
Kurt Smith – Drums and percussion