The 100 Club
Martin Haslam reviews legendary British rock ‘n’ roll band’s The Godfathers, hot on the heals of his recent interview with the band in which they spoke about how their next album’s going to be their best. Are their indications of that in this set? Read on to find out. With photos by Sean R Howarth.
Not many bands get the chance to celebrate their 30th anniversary, whatever the circumstances. Having seen The Godfathers’ recent gigs and heard the quality of new songs ‘Rewind Time’ and ‘Till My Heart Stops Beating’, it was obvious that The 100 Club, Oxford Street, was the place to be on 17th June. Exactly 30 years since their first gig at The Embassy Club, this was the ideal time and place to witness past and present glories.
Two sets were to be played, 15 songs each. No support bands, start sharp at 20.15. However, of course, being London, people still have this ridiculous notion of being ‘fashionably late’ to attend. Normally I’d think ‘their loss’, but tonight it was mine, as home circumstances meant catching the 23.15 train without fail.
The band take to the stage at 20.30, the venue now comfortably filling up. ‘I Want Everything’ is still the call to the faithful, some of whom have travelled from abroad to be here tonight (on time!). ‘Cause I Said So’ and ‘If I Only Had Time’ quickly follow, before newie ‘Till My Heart Stops Beating’ fits into the set like an old friend. Having toured Europe recently, this ‘new’ line up is now rock solid and becoming an established force; the old classics are on fire and the new songs show potential for a great new album.
Peter Coyne’s barbed comments are tempered by the fact that he and the band know this audience appreciate the significance of tonight. Written off many times, they have the last laugh with tonight’s show. With brother Chris on bass, they are still an imposing presence onstage, which is only heightened by the quality of playing from Mauro Venegas and Steve Crittall on guitars and the laid-back yet precise Tim James on drums. All the songs get the depth of performance they deserve.
After a 30 minute break, we get ‘John Barry’, ‘I’m Unsatisfied’ and ‘Angela’, before a brand new song, ‘Some Reaction’, to show that this is not an exercise in merely celebrating the past. These are fine songs. So much so, that I feel if you heard them from an ‘unknown’ band, you’d be desperate to hear more. An album in their 30th anniversary year would be ideal…
I’m counting the songs, and with the end of ‘The Strangest Boy’ I know I’ve got to get that train! Only missing four songs wouldn’t be so bad, but those songs are ‘When Am I Coming Down?’, ‘Lonely Man’, This Damn ‘Nation’ and ‘Birth, School, Work, Death’. Gutted. However, the first set alone would blow away most bands, so I’m more than happy to have beared witness tonight to a celebration of the past, present and future of The Godfathers. I’ll leave you with the set lists;
I Want Everything, Cause I Said So, If I Only Had Time, Till My Heart Stops Beating, Tell Me Why, Strange About Today, Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues, Unreal World, Rewind Time, Those Days Are Over, This Is Your Life, Just Because You’re Paranoid…, Love Is Dead, She Gives Me Love, This Is War.
John Barry, I’m Unsatisfied, Angela, Some Reaction, How Low Is Low, That’s The Way I Feel, Believe In Yourself, I Can’t Sleep Tonight, I’ll Never Forget Whatsisname, I Want You, The Strangest Boy, When Am I Coming Down?, Lonely Man, This Damn Nation, Birth, School, Work, Death.
All words by Martin Haslam. More writing by Martin on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. All photos © Sean R Howarth.