Cry Wolf

Fri 7th November 2008

Cry Wolf Poster Neil_Mach Sept 2008

When resting, the average adult human heart beats at about 70 bpm (males) and 75 bpm (females). I am telling you this because at the Staines Riverside Club on Friday 7th November the average pulse rate had easily exceeded 150 bpm by the end of the Cry Wolf session. This is a minor miracle considering that the average age of the audience was (to be honest) sixty plus and hearts that old don’t fibrillate easily. Those cranky bones and bad backs were sorely tested by these hard rockin’ boys who belted out the beat.  So how did this bunch of long haired neer-do-wells manage to get those blue-rinsed girlies a-squealing with delight and those groaning grandads swivelling their replacement hips?

The story of this band is so familiar to anyone who has watched and enjoyed any of those mockumentary style musical comedies like ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ or ‘The Blues Brothers’.

The Wolf first cried in 1997. But, just like Tap and Jake and Elwood, the history of this band goes way-back. Way, way back. Their not-so-unique story starts in black and white. It starts in those sunny days when thin girls used to wear short-shorts, when blue jeans would swing and when Georgie Best could bend it. The band we know as Blackfoot Sue began their story in Birmingham in the early sixties. Gary Farmer and his identical twin brothers Tom and David Farmer met Eddie Golga and started a modern beat band, forking out for second-hand guitars and drums  and struggling to earn a crust by playing rock n roll around the pubs and clubs of the West Midlands.

After working hard to learn their craft, the group moved to the bright lights and the glittering paving stones of Putney, South West London. Here they shared a house with other strange artistic people/creatures including a mad cat called ‘Blackfoot’. By the early seventies the guys were known  as ‘The Gift’ and playing around the London scene. For various reasons,they migrated North across the Thames to Hounslow, West London- where they have more or less settled to this day.

In Hounslow they were regulars at the Windsor castle pub (they later called it the ‘Star Wars’ pub because of all the weird alien life-forms seen in the bar.) And it was at about this time that they started gigging as Blackfoot Sioux (simultaneously working as ‘The Gift’ to maximise bookings) They came up with a barnstorming anthem ‘Standing in the Road’ which they belted out at each of their shows. It is this song for which they are best known and it became a huge, huge success. They recorded the song and issued it on the Jam label- now using the newly spelt name Blackfoot Sue. After appearing on TOTP they instantly became every teen girls favourite pin-up.

The boys then carried on successfully recording and touring as Blackfoot Sue right up till the end of the era – circa 1975.  After a short spell as the entity ‘Blackfoot’ (without the Sue) the brothers (they lost Eddie along the way) decided to rebrand and reinvent themselves as a blue-eyed soul act called ‘Liner’. They had always loved the Motown sound and they knew that they could pull it off. Their vocal talents were not to be sniffed at. The twin brother’s voices are so similar that, to this day, they have a unique ability to sound as if they are a single singer multi-tracked. David takes the  slightly higher part. The harmonies are splendid.

After playing as the sweet soul sensation ‘Liner’ the band once again transmogrified itself back into a rock band – now calling themselves ‘Spoiler’ {also The Spoilers} and embarked on a very successful tour with Manfred Mann in 1986. In the mid 1990’s the band briefly revived as Blackfoot Sue before evolving into the hard working band we now know as Cry Wolf. Cry Wolf are thought of as a bit of a bikers band- I think because the logo looks great on the back of a Harley…and so they started to rely on some of the more ‘heavy’ rocker hits that the Angels love…AC/DC, ZZ Top that sort of thing.

The band now play with the awesome lead guitarist Pars Evrenos from Texas. At Staines Riverside Club Pars looked like a grand wizard of the strings with his long bible-black hair flowing down to his waist and always an explicit look of concentration on his face as he gently squeezed just one more exquisitely high note from his guitar.

The band are very tight and their accomplished vocal work places them in a different league to most other ‘pub rockers’.  The sounds are multi-layered and multi-faceted. I especially liked the fact that the band are able to put their own live interpretation onto a song without changing it completely. At Staines we enjoyed a note-perfect ‘All The Young Dudes’ but Pars gave the tune that extra push at the end, lifting the whole experience to a slightly higher place. Similarly, Pars’s superb solo on Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ lifted and elated the audience and polished off a superb first half.

In the second half of the show, Cry Wolf rocked the world. First off, I noticed that a few old rockers got up and started to jive to a Black Sabbath number. Then, as the band started to really move hearts and minds (playing a Def Leppard cover)  I counted 16 people dancing. Dancing! In Staines Riverside club!  I ask you?

The band also played plenty of ‘newer’ songs (all covers, mind, not one Blackfoot Sue song in their 2008 repertoire) like ‘Song 2’ (Blur) and ‘How You Remind Me’ (Nickelback) .

All said, this was an excellent evening of musical entertainment from a band that has been there, seen it, done it and they have obviously got the T shirt!

And my pulse is still racing….

© Neil_Mach
Nov 2008



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