Well that was a blast! This tired old hack has witnessed the debut of First Beat & The Backers at Bolton SC.
The rumour going round was that a new band on the scene taking it back to the Innovators of rock of the 50’s.
Sources tell me the signs were not good, with the walk out of Sax player Tony Critchley.
Was the band breaking up due to ‘Musical differences?’ or a Syd Barrett like dependency on Hallucinatory drugs? No, he had to attend another gig, a Critchley family BBQ.
How very Rock & Roll!!!
But the band decided to stagger on for the sake of their fans!
Could they cut it? Hell could they hold a tune in a bucket!
The band made it to the stage; the audience was fractious with a combined age 6 times that of the Rolling Stones. The smell in the hall was less of Marijuana but heavy on wet sailing gear & Flat Cap ale.
The audience gasped at lead singer Eddie Macken’s outfit. Was this some throw back costume from Bowie’s seminal Ziggy Stardust era?
Apparently not, Eddie tells this correspondent that the entire rig was bought on eBay for a fiver with the wig thrown in!
My personal fave of the night was Eddie Macken’s somewhat Avant Garde rendering of Richie Valen’s La Bamba which Eddie managed to wrestle to the ground & stomp the living day lights out of this classic number whilst Zena Martin translated the evocative Spanish lyrics into somewhat cruder sailing terms…….Dylan it wasn’t!
The band nailed number after number of Rock’s classic 50’s greatest hits with the Swinging Shevelan’s backing each classic in true Do Wop style!
John Moulton with his driving hypnotic beat on drums drove the band on to a grinding 50’s blissful riot of R and B.
Pete Mackin on Keyboards & Eddie Wareing on guitar holding the entire vibe together with guest bassist Pete Swarbrick providing the mesmeric low throb that caused the front row of the audience to throw their support girdles at the band!
Who could forget Ian Beebe’s mastery of the rhythm guitar? He has a lot in common with Keef Richards of the Stones, well his wrinkles & big ears mostly.
The girls in the band led by Julie Courtney & Zena Martin dressed in hooped skirts made the older boys in the audience check the batteries in their pacemakers!
Before we knew it the show was over. The band made just the one encore with the audience whipped into a writhing bopping frenzy.
Well I’ve seen all the greats, The stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, the Smiths even the Crankies on the pier at Blackpool!
But now I can tell the Grand Kids I saw the First Beat & The Backers on their debut at Bolton Sailing Club, surely on a par with Led Zeppelin’s last show at Knebworth.
How are they going to top that next year? Apparently never never again according to band leader Eddie Wareing………… But even the Stone Roses reformed so watch this space!