The Lexington, London
31st October 2014
Despite line-up changes, The Godfathers remain an incendiary, take no prisoners live outfit.
This has been a busy and eventful week for me; Wednesday October 29th I got to interview Bernie Torme and review his storming gig. Two days later and I was off to The Lexington to see how one of my favourite bands, The Godfathers, would rise from the ashes of their recent line-up split.
I have to admit, I was quietly confident, as I knew that this line-up featured guitarist Mauro Venegas, previously of the wonderful Jonny Cola And The A Grades. Nice guy and great guitarist; just what The Godfathers needed. Secondly, they are back to being a five-piece band for the first time in years. Their songs demand two guitars, which was sadly lacking in their previous incarnation, and with guitarist Steve Crittall alongside Tim James on drums, there was a fair chance that tonight would be worthy of the name The Godfathers.
Let’s not forget, nearly thirty years ago, The Godfathers were an incendiary live spectacle. A wall of sound, five imposing men in sharp suits and crisp shirts, years before Reservoir Dogs, they were an uncompromising rock n roll band. I saw them many times, as they were always touring and played Bedford many times. Fuck me, they were loud! And, boy, they had the songs to back it up.
Ulysses were the support tonight. A strong performance of confident, tuneful 70s style rock with some nice harmonies and the occasional rocking wig-out. A good choice; different enough from the headliners but popular with the crowd.
So, the John Barry intro remains and The Godfathers 2014 take to the stage. The Lexington is sold out tonight, so it’s rammed in here, hot and sticky with expectation. Everyone wants them to do well. I Want Everything is about as good a tune as any to start with. What more do you want? How about Tell Me Why, Cause I Said So, If I Only Had Time and a selection from most eras, including I Can’t Sleep Tonight from last album Juke Box Fury, benefiting from the new twin guitar attack. And they do attack; Unreal World’and I’m Unsatisfied are more ferocious than they’ve been in many years.
The Coyne brothers seem pleased with the response, though Peter, as ever, is not short of confidence. “Red hot, mate, fuckin’ RED HOT!” he shouts between numbers. It seems churlish tonight to hold this against him, because he’s quite right. He and brother Chris on bass have fought to keep this going. They want their legacy to continue in a valid, healthy manner, and this really is about as good as anyone could hope for.
Love Is Dead, Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues and a rare This Is Your Life and How Low Is Low before the set ends with She Gives Me Love and a crazed This Is War. There has to be an encore, so we are treated to Lonely Man, This Damn Nation and the anthemic Birth, School, Work, Death. Peter Coyne announces that their annual Valentine’s Day Massacre gig is booked next year at The Borderline. If you wanted to be here tonight but couldn’t, make sure you treat your loved one fittingly and be there. All I want now is some new songs. But that’s me; I want everything.
The Godfathers are on Facebook.
Words and photo by Martin Haslam, find his Louder Than War archive here.