© Adrian Hextall
Photos and Live Gig Review by Adrian Hextall
Epitomising the perfect musical blend of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll in their music, Dirty Thrills celebrate the release of their début album (reviewed below) with a launch show at the famous Barfly venue in Camden Town, London. Sensibly pairing up with Finnish rockers Santa Cruz, it ensures that by the time they take to the stage at 8pm, the venue is filling nicely and within the first two songs, it is clear the night will be a sell out.
Fronted by Louis James (son of ex-Moody Blues singer Nicky James), he is ably supported by fireball guitarist Jack Fawdry , solid drumming from Steve Corrigan and what appears to be Justin Hawkins (The Darkness) twin brother in groove laden bass player Aaron Plows. To sum them up easily they could be described as Rival Sons fronted by Robert Plant, such is the strength in James’ vocals. It’s definitely old school, retro fuelled rock ‘n’ roll and the band will certainly make waves in the current music scene given the critics and audiences penchant for this particular style right now.
Although the set tonight promotes their début album they are no stranger to the stage and have honed their act in reputable venues such as London’s 100 Club, the main stage at O2 Academy Liverpool and Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Airplay for rock bands on mainstream radio is also rare nowadays but Dirty Thrills have also received coverage from BBC Radio 2 which is no mean feat.
Ten minutes before their set begins, the venue is filled by a total of six people. However, a last minute flurry in the dying minutes before they arrive on stage sees an influx and they play to a packed floor and a great reception. James has definitely studied the life and works of the man his vocals so clearly resemble and he does a great job of owning the stage as the front man of the band. His between song banter is limited and he admits it is indeed something to work on (although references to your skin tight stripy trousers and how much of your package is noticeable is probably not the right way to go about it !) . What does matter though is his voice and it is in fantastic form. As many frequent concert goers will confirm, less chat and more songs are preferred anyway and this is what they deliver in spades.
There is a marked contrast in delivery from one side of the stage to the other. Jack Fawdry oozes energy to the point of making us wonder if his guitar is wired in and he’s receiving a 240v boost from the mains. Aaron Plows on the other side has captured all of Derek Small’s shapes and throws every one into the mix with the neck of his bass guitar reaching out into the crowd. Poor Corrigan on drums is limited to a tiny amount of space to wedge himself into but that is the norm for drummers playing the compact Barfly stage. Intimate it most certainly is but it allows the tightly pressed crowd to experience a band with masses of drive and determination looking to take rock ‘n’ roll back to its glory days.
Their short set does exactly what they set out to do. Raise awareness, energise the crowd and prove that their blues soaked swagger ‘n’ roll is something people should sit up and take notice of.
Louis James (Lead Vocals)
Jack Fawdry (Guitar)
Steve Corrigan (Drums)
Aaron Plows (Bass)
So what of the album that Dirty Thrills are at The Barfly to promote? Pulled together on the back of a very successful PledgeMusic campaign that saw the band achieve over 135% of the funding required to record, produce and deliver the album, November 17th also sees this 10 track release hitting the shelves as well.
Released by: Independent
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Blues / Hard Rock
01 No Resolve
02 Burning Bridges
03 Rock n Roll
04 Resume Regret
05 Is This Home
07 Wolf In Sheeps Clothing
08 The Man Who Lost His Way
09 Follow Me Home
Positive reviews of their debut EP, entitled ‘Growing Young’, gave audiences a sense of what to expect from this release and if it can be compared to anything, it’s the impact that the Quireboys had with their debut ‘A Bit Of What You Fancy’. It’s a rootsy return to blues, whisky soaked rock and roll that made its’ name in dirty bar rooms back in the 60s and 70s. Dirty Thrills present a harder edged sound to their music with none of the piano work that the Quireboys offer but that sense of smoke filled dingy venues pervades throughout the whole album and makes it feel more ‘real’ than some of the other new artists out their at the moment.
From the southern rock fuelled opener of ‘No Resolve’, through follow up ‘Burning Bridges’ their is a dirty fuzz underneath their sound that gives the music a warm sound and gives the listener a sense of familiarity , very much like a classic leather bound book that you can return to time after time. ‘Rock n Roll’ gives the listener a true sense of the energy that is present in their live shows. ‘Resume Regret’ showcases the strength of Louis James’ voice and is driven by a wonderfully fuzzy groove that cannot fail to engage the listener. The groove and beat has strains of Queens of The Stone Age in their as well and is all the better for it.
Things dial down on ‘Is This Home’ and bring to mind a bar room lock in with the Jack Daniels cracked open as everyone sits around listening to vocals and bluesy acoustic guitar. The electric elements kick in as you might expect half way through but it would be interesting to hear the whole track played with that laid back acoustic approach.
Other highlights include the energised ‘Wolf In Sheeps Clothing’. Again, pushing James to the upper levels of his range and bringing out the Plant in him once more it will definitely resonate with Zeppelin fans out there.
Contrary to Gene Simmons recent comments about the state of rock music, this band prove (at least) that the British rock music scene is anything but dead. Packed venues for their live performances prove people are willing to go and see them and even if physical album sales are diminishing, to be honest, the live arena is where it’s at and Dirty Thrills deliver an album that translates perfectly to that medium.