I’ve got something else I should be doing (and I have something about the ever-exciting Sleaford Mods to put together still), but I’m just going to sneak this in…
Went to see a rejuvenated Graham Parker and the Rumour at the Academy, Sunday night, a gig that’s been pinned to my board for ages now but I’d kind of forgotten about.
Strange thing is that none of my hipster buddies seem to know or care much about Graham Parker (this rings a bell… unsure whether I’m very, very cool or whether I’ve finally been rumbled…). A great, great night, though…
Graham Parker and the Rumour
I’m old enough to remember some of the GP albums as they came out, not as part of the pub rock boom, I should say, more the period when he slightly readjusted himself, became a little bit more “New Wave” after signing to Stiff. Actually, I’ve made that sound like he was more mercenary than I think he really was – in truth he always had a more edgy, sinewy sound than his contemporaries; I don’t think the advent of Punk left him as creatively discomfited as many at the time.
In the event, I was (not for the first time) a little worried about what the turnout would be like but (not for the first time) needn’t have worried. A robust group of more than a hundred grizzled old gentlemen made the trip and a rare old time was had by all.
What I hadn’t factored into the evening was that the Rumour were no mean bunch of performers themselves, and are still pretty much as they were. The lead guitarist was still Brinsley Schwarz, original member of the Rumour and also founder of legendary country rockers er.. Brinsley Schwarz; the familiar swirling keyboard sounds were provided by another founding member of BS, Bob Andrews; drums were by Steve Goulding, another original Rumour member. And the other guitarist, nominally on rhythm, was the mountainous Martin Belmont, formerly of Ducks Deluxe, a member of the Attractions at various stages and (I’ve just found out) a former BS roadie.
We were really taken by Belmont, in truth. Tall (ridiculously so), bedecked in black shirt and white tie, he looked like a gawky physics teacher, strapping on his guitar after many years (and having a ball). He gurned, grimaced and generally larked about, contributing some cracking, twangy guitar breaks throughout. You kind of wished he was your Dad…
Parker’s voice was outstanding, as strident and tough as ever, and he pretty much ripped through an hour and a half set with some gusto, clearly enjoying himself and making for an engaging host as he wandered through a remarkable back catalogue, sprinkled with a good few newer ones.
The recordings are OK, but slightly spoiled by a feller near me, singing along throughout. Annoying for a while, but then I realised he knew all the words to all the songs, and was clearly well away – you carry on, mate.
That sort of evening…
Passion Is No Ordinary Word