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'London, Camden, The Black Heart, 12 April 2018'   

-  Genre: 'Rock'

Our Rating:
I only seem to go to the Black Heart for single or album launch shows and this visit exception as it was the launch show for Last Great Dreamers latest album, the excellent 13th Floor Renegades.

On arrival, I made a rather bizarre error ordering a bottle of Mr Smith Goes To beer that I only ordered having decided my first choice of a chocolate stout wasn't for me. Then I tasted it and couldn't figure out what was wrong with it until I inspected the label to discover I had a bottle of watermelon beer in my hand to listen to Darrell Bath play. If that isn't about as wrong a drink as you could get in the circumstances I don't know what is. Damn, I should have been on the special brew. Anything but this strange concoction!

I managed to miss the couple of songs of Darrell's set unfortunately and he was playing solo with an electric guitar rather than the acoustic he played the last time I saw him solo at Rebellion a year or 2 ago. It's a pity as was sounding great and very strangely he looked sober while singing about Standing On a Corner.

The first song I heard in full was Dirty Rocky Road, from his recent solo album Roll Up! This had some very cool guitar playing, while Darrell sang about the way life likes to kick you when you're down. He then played his latest 7" single Greedy Green Eyes that was another dark tale of deceit and despair - just as you'd want it to be.

Darrell introduced the next song as being written by Larry Williams and then did his best Johnny Guitar Watson impression while playing a song about having the worst reputation in town. I wish I knew which Larry Williams song it was as I think it might be on the only album of his I own.

He then introduced a song he plays with the Crybaby's: the brilliant You Don't Have To Wear Boots To Be A Cowboy, which went down a storm and quite rightly so. That was followed with a song he helped write for the most recent Vibrators album, Hand Of Mercy and it sounded very cool stripped down for the occasion.

I have the next song down as Just Another Slave but it might be something else. No matter, it was another great slice of downbeat stoned blues before Darrell told us a story about writing the last song of the set with some bloke called Ian Hunter at Abbey Road Studios back in the day. We all joined him singing Never Trust A Blonde, leaving almost everyone cheering for more at the end of one of the best solo sets I've seen Darrell play in the 20 plus years since I first saw him solo across the road at the Underworld.

After the break and with a proper beer in my hand, it was time for Last Great Dreamers to come roaring out of the blocks at us as they opened with the opening song from 13th Floor Renegades, New Situation: a full on Glam Powerpop classic in the making and sounding great.

Almost without a break they went flying into the next song, which might have been Save You but I'm not certain of that. Either way it had everyone totally up for it.

Ashtray Eyes sounded as great live as it normally does and the harmonies were working well as they really worked the room. We then had the first real sing along of the set for Glitterball Apocalypse that was played really fast and full on.

That was followed by The Way We Collide: a song I've loved since first being sent it to review a few years ago. What a great slice of glammed-up rock. Then it was back to the new album for its title track 13th Floor Renegades which went down a storm just as it should.

No Sunshine seemed about right with the weather we've been having but it was followed by the darkly delicious Lunacy Lady that kept the pace up and the never-ending hard work of the band to keep us all dancing.

They introduced the next song that was apparently about living in Mornington Crescent and the Hotel Splendide: a most ramshackle hovel. It might have been called I'm Not The Same but that's a guess. Still it was about the old Bohemian London that's fast disappearing.

Then it was time to watch out for some Werewolves, from the Transmission from Oblivion album to make most of us howl with delight at the precision-tooled power-pop they had unleashed on us.

They paid tribute to this evening's venue with White Light Black Heart that had so many people singing along it was just great. That was followed by what I guess was Here It comes but is probably called something else far cooler. I do know it was certainly another damn cool song that I think was introduced as coming from Retrosexuals, the band's debut album.

Then it was time for these far from teenage performers to go for a Crash Landing In Teenage Heaven. It as Mott as they got all night and a monster rave up that went into a few bars of Lets Spend The Night Together to keep everyone smiling.

Going home was the last thing on anyone's mind as they played it before they finished with the brilliant Primitive Man that was a total rave up that guaranteed the place went nuts for an encore.

That opened with Oblivion Kids; just as stormingly good and was followed by the band's theme song, Last Great Dreamer: a glorious sing a long and only left time for a speedy version of Dope School to finish the night to make sure we all left smiling after another great show from Last Great Dreamers.

  author: simonovitch

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