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Sound Of The Suburbs

February 6, 2018

Featuring The 49ers and me

February 3rd, 2018, The Portico Gallery, West Norwood

Onstage The 49ers look like they are really concentrating on playing well and putting on a good show for a hall full of fans. Or at least the female 3/5 of the band does. Suzi exhibits Tina Weymouth-style “my bass is bigger than me so I must really focus” cool. Lead singer Emma comes over as bit stern but delivers some good strong vocals and less than intelligible stage announcements, although her request for two more gin and tonics came through loud and clear. Cleo – introduced as “our Ginger Spice” – generates some impressive keyboard sounds during Walk Like An Egyptian, which also featured some carefully shared vocals. The male 2/5 is a bit more extrovert with Dave doing a bit of Les Paul posing and cool titfer wearing and Steve The Drummer gurning in a way that would definitely put me off my vegan curry.

The 49ers play songs their audience will know and they play them well it’s a good mix of material and nothing jars or feels out of place. I loved Pyscho Killer and their version of the evenings theme song. The audience responded by bopping feverishly, with the more youthful members playing some sort of chase game which lasted for most of the evening and did for the monitors at one point. Feverish calls for an encore brought two, finishing with an augmented version of Too Much Too Young.  After the 49ers finished DJ Zero took over, playing some funky sounds for serious dancing.

The Portico is a well-used space in the heart of West Norwood where all manner of community-based stuff happens.  Tonight is a benefit for West Norwood Wonder, a cause I still don’t understand even though it was explained to me twice. Before the 49ers I had fun playing a punky 76-77 DJ set (see playlist here). I also dressed in the clothes I wore during those two fine years – bumper boots, Levis, plain T shirt, denim jacket. In other words what I wear now, though these days we say Converse rather than bumper boot.  And I had so many badges on my jacket because that was A Thing back then, when slogans included “How Dare You Presume I Am Not A Lesbian?” and “Wearing Badges Is Not Enough”. My current fave is “Is There Life After Youth?”, found at the V&A when we went for the Bowie exhibition.

I had a great time and I think if you went to see the 49ers you would have a great time too. They are a bit like the film Paddington 2 – it is impossible to envisage any sane person not enjoying them.

My thanks to Steve The Drummer for inviting me and Zero for the loan of his decks.

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From → Gigs, Music

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