Unlike most of the Friday night shows I've been to in the last few years this is the Late show and as the Garage's early show ran late the late show is also running a bit late. This means that, having got in just before 11pm, I'm more than early enough to see the entire nights entertainment and that's no bad thing at all.
The night kicks of with Lucifire welcoming us to the Garage and giving us the lowdown on tonights proceedings before she is joined onstage by the Reverend Gavin Smith on Double Bass for a very sensual version of Fever.
Lucifire then introduced the first band of the night THE BERMONDSEY JOYRIDERS are a punk rock super group of sorts featuring ex-Cock Sparrer man Garry Lammin on vocals and Guitar, Martin Stacey on Bo Diddley rectangular Bass and Chris Musto on drums. Yes Chris Musto on drums - always good to see and hear Chris play.
They opened with an instrumental of pulversing power trio blues stomp that belied the fact they were wearing Rupert trousers and sharp shirts and looked very dapper and menacing at the same time. Damn, that bass sounded so dirty it was brilliant.
They then went into All That Darkness and Gary was singing about chasing all the darkness away over a brawling blues rock monster riff and roll that was part Heartbreakers meets London Cowboys meets Dr Feelgood, which is sort of their template. This set rumbled and rocked like hell on Part Of My Problem. The lyrics are whip smart and full of references that any real punk and rock fan will either know or think they know.
Again & Again repeated like Eddie and The Hot Rods screaming through Essex chasing the Feelgoods on the way to the Kursaal for a dust up. That begins on the next song when Garry screams Who R Ya at them and gets us all singing it too. It has a bit of a Sham 69 feel to the call and responses and certainly gets the place going and ready for the band to introduce their special guest narrator. That tonight is Charles Shaar Murray who I have been reading on and off for most of my adult life and who reads the intro's that big up the band and the spirit of Rock and roll they are channelling while Runnin Riot all over the place as any good punk band should.
The next intro is all about Johnny Thunders who Chris used to play for and has a monstrous Heartbreakers riff and lyrics that are all stolen from the titles and chorus' of great punk songs from the Heartbreakers to the Clash and beyond. It's very clever and extremely cool. Charles SM then reminds us that these three were all involved in punk back in 1977 and still have its spirit and they distill it in 1977: more a reworking and retooling of the Clash song of that name rather than a cover of it. They then show us their mettle on Just another Rock and Roll Star: a real floor shaker which just re-enforces just how powerful a band they are.
They close the set with one more intro from Charles SM and then they do Rock & Roll Demon with Charles on mouth organ and blowing the room apart with more call and response and one more great tune. If they get anywhere near you go and see them they are a stonkingly good live band.
After a short break LUCIFIRE introduces LALLA MORTE who tonight comes on topless and her act is basically her painting herself with luminous body paint and well why not, she looks really sexy while she does it. She is followed by Lucifire doing some fire breathing as a way of warming herself up to play sax with the Urban Voodoo Machine.
Then as its already gone midnight it's time for tonights headliners who aren't headlining and the URBAN VOODOO MACHINE come out as ever to the theme from The Godfather before launching into their own theme and getting the place going with previous single High Jeopardy Thing. It sounds great even if they are a slightly slimmed down 9 piece for most of tonights show. Slimmed down or not they are one hell of a band and are soon getting us going as Paul-Ronney Angel sings about the rumours of his early demise in Cheers For the Tears that has most of the audience dancing.
Then I think they did Oh Lonesome You. Unfortunately my notes are a bit garbled and this music is nothing if it isn't intoxicating with that bourbon blues getting straight to the hreart. They then did a "new" song that I think was a cover of I'm Going home On the Morning Train the old memphis gospel blues number that is a very close relative to Jesus On The Mainline. They put a smile on most of the faces around me on Love Song #666 with Nick Marsh trading his licks with Paul-Ronney and J-Roni More and Jary chasing each other around the drum kits.
Paul-Ronney was soon singing about The Shit You're In before the band sent out an S.O.S and it was time to either Swim or Sink and we all know this lot swim as long as they are swimming in booze and Dr Lloyd can blow some fine trumpet over the top and have Slim play his accordian like they are hell's own Rembetika band.
They then played the new single Rather You Shot Me Down off of the Valentines EP. You should hurry to buy a physical copy as there are just 100 copies available otherwise its a download thing. Whatever, its a stonking good tune but then Paul-Ronney starts to introduce another tune off the EP before the band correct him and they do Your Hour Of Darkness which is one of the new songs.
Well they went back to the EP for a most unlikely cover of Hell's Bells. Yes they succesfully turn ACDC into gypsy blues and it sounds brilliant and unless you really know the lyrics it might catch you out before they reach the chorus. It's a brilliant re-imagining of the song and is so far from the original to work really well. They go back to familiar territory for the Orphan's Lament: always a crowd favourite to shout along to the intro to and tonight was no exception to that rule.
The Real Criminals help bring this stonking set towards its close and has the band going all out. I think it was this song that had Garry Lammin back up with either a Bazouki or mandolin. Sorry if I have the wrong song for his guest spot. They closed the show with Goodbye To Another year which sounds a touch odd in February but its still a great song then after they took a couple of bows they left the stage and unforgivably most of the crowd didn't scream for more, so they didn't do an encore which I was pretty shocked at.
After the end of the UVM set about a third of the audience left and those of us left got to see Rubber Ritchie who is a pretty funny and very good contortionist.
Then finally it was time For KING SALAMI & THE CUMBERLAND 3 who as you wouldn't have guessed are not a 3 piece with singer but a 4 piece with singer who do everything they can to live up to the sausages that inspire them to make the most bonkers garage rock around. They open up with a (mostly) instrumental that features screams of "Waaaaah!" every now and again like they are summoning the bodies of Screaming Jay Hawkins and Barrence Whitfield.
They have a positively savage sound on the next tune that sounded something like I Wanna Hold You. With this amount of distortion on everything including the vocals its difficult to tell, still they have so much energy its like being hit in the face with a wall of amphetemines, you can't help but move to this insane sound. Mine oh mine sounded like a demented love song as King Salami's mad staring eyes left you in no doubt you would be his all his.
King Salami made a good point of letting us know his band were French/Japanese/Spanish and English and whatever the King is they are a real melting pot. She's No Good was covered in squalling guitars and mauling sax as the king did the dislocation dance while singing (or should that be howling) into the microphone. It was then dance craze time on Do The Fly: come on everybody you know you want to do the fly? Of course you do!
Don't Pass me By was slightly odd as you could never pass King Salami by without at the very least turning round for a second look at them. They are just far enough out there to make it essential. She's a Kukumunga is a hell of a Barrence Whitfield style stomp as for what a Kukumunga is I have no idea but I want a girl who is one for sure. They were then telling us to watch our mouths - well certainly sir as you put it like that I will.
We then got into the American Indian part of the set with Tribal. That sounded almost like a fighting song for the sort of folks who like a good rockabilly dance off and need to shake the Hoodoo off of them, but if they still have the Hoodoo on them then they better put on the head dresses and sing about the Big Chief.
It was both exhilarating and exhausting watching this lot play. They put so much energy into it that when they get a bit lovey dovey on I Got A Baby you worry it might be over in 20 seconds they're in such a rush but then 3AM is a perfect time to sing about how You Break My Heart and I'm sure King Salami has broken a heart or two along the way, especially when he is on about the Ecstacy of Salami: a song that can only be followed by one that seems to be called Ha Ha!
They then try to get the audience down on its knees which as most of the dancefloor is wet with spilt beers is hard to do, but a good slice are crouching at the very least for Down Low Do the Whirl or whatever it's actually called and they all jump up when signalled to and continue to dance like crazy as this music demands you do.
The close the set with Hey Pretty baby. It doesn't sound remotely pretty but is a great stomp along of a song.They come back for an encore and drag Paul-Ronney Angel up on mouth organ for Chicken Back: a real funky little number and then close the night out with Mojo Working. That has a bit of a sing along on it and they finally leave the stage with the audience exhausted.
I can't believe I'm at a gig in London where the bands finish at 3.30am. It must be about 15 years since that last happened which is way cool. That just leaves some time for tonights superstar DJ Jim Jones to play a few tunes for those left standing at the end of a stonking good night.