Thursday 28th August 2008
Last Year an estimated 20 million people wanted to see Led Zep’s London gig (at £125 a pop.) Jimmmy Page is 64. Robert Plant is 60. These guys are old. Really, really old. And the music is from way-way back. But audiences around the world are literally queuing up to see this kinda stuff. Everywhere you look these days there is some bunch of hoary old rock popinjays zimmering around on stage barely able to lift their ‘axes’ because of the arthritis setting in and sipping on their Sanatogen between breaks. Why these antediluvian antics are so highly valued in the noughties is a mystery to me. Because, if you really wanted to see a bunch of old geezers on a tinsel stage, knocking out some masterful blues & classic rock tunes, all you had to do was pop down to the Staines Riverside Club last Thursday (28th Aug) and you would have been in for a treat. But you didn’t did you? Shame on you. The Blue Fuses were playing. It only cost £3 on the door. And you weren’t there.
Doug Lip (who resembles the late Stevie Ray Vaughan in style and attitude) provided the classy lead guitar breaks and the crescendos. Noel Jones, the front man with the black pudding T-shirt and the ‘comfortable tum’, provides most of the vocals and blasted out the thumping bass lines (ranging from some fairly straightforward funk-influenced grooves right up to some immensely complex and compelling prog-rock sounds.) Pete Brock (glasses and bald) played the rhythm guitar but stepped up now and then to provide lead breaks and twin-lead power when required. Will Carroll (drums) was driving the energy of the band with some explosive percussive tricks and some reliable beats. All told, The Blue Fuses were an exceptional treat. They are an accomplished band who play some highly-charged set pieces with lots of Fabulous Thunderbirds moments, some neat psychedelic rock touches and oodles of classic rock audacity.
The best thing about the Blue Fuses is their sense of fun and self-mockery. Pete Brock likes to use his radio/wireless set-up to run around the venue doing mad stage antics that are not really suitable for a man of, ahem, ‘his advancing years’. Noel tends to drive that base guitar (rather than subtley play it)and his face contorts into a myriad of expressions as he gets those sounds out using the power of thought alone. Whilst Pete smashes, crashes and thrashes his drum set to oblivion (as demonstrated in a powerful set-piece drum solo within ‘Whole Lotta Doggin’.) But these old guys are still able to shock you or make you smile by providing those ‘special little moments’ you didn’t quite expect. For example, Noel told us that the Blue Fuses were going to get “All girly” on us. And then they played a spectacular version of Everybody Hurts (R.E.M) with some gorgeous harmonies. Early on they announced that they were going to play the title-piece of a current movie. We all waited in anticipation. Da Da da-da-da Dida Dida Disa Da Da Da. Yep, it was ‘Iron Man’. Full of grunge, full of raw power, full of verve and a very accomplished cover.
The sensational finish to the first half of the show is their version of the famous Floyd classic (and I begrudgingly acknowledge now a Scissors Sisters ‘classic’ too)- Comfortably Numb. The light touches and the gentle imagery of this set-piece gradually build up to an earth shattering climax when Doug really comes into his own and gives the audience several minutes of truly exalted classic rock guitar. Almost holy, almost surreal. And certainly transcending the humble surroundings of the Staines Riverside Club.
Why weren’t you there? Better value for money than Led Zep!
© Neil_Mach Aug 2008
See the BLUE FUSES next at:
Fri 26 SEP 2008 Royal Oak Pub
45 Oak Ave, Hampton Hill, TW12 3NR
Sat 25 OCT 2008 The Cardinal Wolsey Pub
Hampton Court Rd, HAMPTON, KT8 9BW