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Review: 'Dramarama'
'Live at The Black Heart of Camden.'   

-  Genre: 'Eighties' -  Release Date: '22.8.18.'

Our Rating:
Dramarama may be the 58th band I've seen this month but they are still one of the bands I was most excited about seeing again as this is only the second time I've seen them and the last time was 32 years ago in New York.

So this gig was special for me in all sorts of ways as that gig in New York all those years ago was the first time I'd seen a band abroad and it was also the first time I attempted to write a gig review and get it published I still have said review that went unpublished along with the rejection slips somewhere in my archives along with the Setlist and gig invite.

At that first gig I arrived absurdly early by New York standards of the times and ended up meeting and talking to the band who couldn't have been nicer to this very uncool and slightly geeky kid I was back then something I'll always be thankful for. I also promised them back then that whenever they came and played in London I would be there well I finally got to keep my promise and am very glad that I did.

The band are over to play at the Byline Festival and the London show is an add on that I for one am very grateful for and I am also grateful that they chose to not have a support band and instead played two sets that should have been to a rammed beyond belief club but sadly was for a half empty club.

From the moment they started with a good instrumental intro that eventually led into Visiting The Zoo it was obvious they were still every bit the great live band I remembered from all those years ago and once the soundman sorted out John Easdale's vocals properly they sounded pretty great all night long.

Questions? Was next and not why did it take you so long to come over either more like will they play all my favourite songs or not, either way it sounded great and the current 5 piece line up all looked like they were having the time of their lives on this tiny stage. Next up was I think Prayer off of Hi-Fi Sci-Fi an album that wasn't easy to come by over this side of the pond but damn it sounds so good John makes sure we can hear all the words that are flying at us. Oh and I wish the drummer on the original Prayer played something as cool as this rather than what he had to play in the 57th band I saw this month who were frankly not all that.

I've Got Spies was immense as Mike Davis was like a whirlwind on Bass and everyone was singing the chorus and the breakdown worked really well before they ramped it back up and got us all singing again.

They were soon singing about being Out In The Rain which may have backfired as I think the festival gigs were outside and it certainly rained on one of the days they were due to play still this sounded great.

John gave us a cool intro for the bands feel good hit and title track of the bands "comeback" album Everybody Dies that went down a treat, I Haven't Got A Clue still sounds great and by this point Peter Wood and Joe Hutchinson were trading guitar licks and parts like crazy and sounding amazing.

Anything, Anything that is probably the bands best known song was next and was immensely great and I'm not sure there was a single person not singing along with it, I was a little shocked it was this early in the set but so happy to hear it live again and I'm so glad I was introduced to the woman it was written about at The China Club in New York all those years ago.

At this point John strapped on his 12 string guitar for the first song I really didn't recognise It's Only Money and the band's sound that was already great suddenly felt like it had another dimension to it. Up To Here was next and it's as great a song about the perils of powders as you could want wrapped up in power pop foil as you could want.

Was that Ain't It The Truth next I think it was and sounding as cool as it can before they closed the first set with what I have down as Everyday but may be called something else still they left to as huge applause as the 40 or so of us could manage.

During the break I had a chat with some of the band and they are still as nice as they were back in 1986 very cool and friendly and also very happy to have finally made it over here.

The second set opened with John playing his 12' string with Peter Wood adding the odd flourish of electric guitar on I think I Will Try before the rest of the band came back on and joined in on a song I can't figure out from my notes.

I think we then got some of the new songs from the forthcoming album due out early next year and my notes seem to get worse sadly unlike the music that just sounded great even when I didn't know the songs which is always good.

The Swamp Song had enough begging and asking to be really cool before I start guessing at what the next song was Still something or other that was the last song John played his 12 string on.

They then closed with another couple of hits the brilliant Work For Food that pretty much sums up the life of a struggling rock band and life in general for a lot of people as no one should be starving in this day and age before they left us with a great version of Last Cigarette with John playing with a cigarette but not lighting it and introducing the band for us and don't forget it's Tony Snow on drums and not that Clem geezer I saw last week, it's Joe Hutchinson on guitar with Peter Wood and the human whirlwind that was Mike Davis giving everything he had for that last cigarette on bass.

This was an brilliant show that should have been played to at least 10 times the audience it got but the band still played like their lives depended on it and then chatted and hung out with us all afterwards I sincerely hope I don't have to wait another 32 years to see them live again.
  author: simonovitch

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