At the Staines Riverside Club this week – the main concern for most residents of the Delta was that the mighty Thames was on the rise. Most people went over to the shore-facing windows at the club, at least once during the evening, to check out the waking Father Thames – as he progressively rose from his slumbers. The tow-path was already submerged. And it seemed as if the bar was going to be swamped next!
Despite the flood-warnings and impending catastrophe – the faithful Thameside music lovers gathered to witness another spectacular show – this time from local band ‘The Brainchild’.
The members of The Brainchild met in 2004 – to jam together at The Royal Oak, Hampton. It was here that they first performed together as a covers band.
Front-man Chris Dowling – now living just up the road in Wraysbury – got his first guitar when he was just 10 years old – and was taught to play by Marc Bolan! In 1990, Chris was introduced to Screaming Lord Sutch and played guitar for the Monster Raving Loony Party. Around the same time, Chris formed his own covers band ‘What’s Next’.
Later, Chris played with ‘Shark Attack’ – a biker’s favourite band – and this was the forerunner of ‘The Brainchild’ as a project. The band released an album in 2009 titled ‘Conversational Tennis‘ which was produced by the brilliant Martin Smith ( Electric Light Orchestra.) Chris has also played with the band ‘Cow’.
Starting their Staines show with a long, slow and moody interpretation of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” – the gravelly voice of Chris – coupled with that mournful and sleazy sax solo ( from Dominic Bon De Sousa) and the hustling street-walking beat – eased the crowd into a leisurely and evocative night of gentle sounds and luxurious rhythms. The Bowie link continued with “Space Oddity” (first released 1969). Interestingly, Isleworth born session bassist Herbie Flowers (who played with Blue Mink, T. Rex and Sky), performed on both of these original singles. “Walk on the Wild Side” was produced by Bowie in 1972.
Ominous John Fogerty number “Bad Moon Rising” was said to be about an impending apocalypse – so it was an appropriate number. The splendidly rhythmic strumming on this ‘Creedence Clearwater Revival’ song was fast-paced and almost raunchy. This track was heard on the 1981 horror/comedy film soundtrack of ‘An American Werewolf in London’ – some of which was filmed at the ‘Mucky Duck’, Ockham. Chris and his earlier band ‘Shark Attack’ played a residency at the same pub!
Self-penned song ‘I Am The River’ was a high-point of the show – the moody Tom Petty style vocals could so easily have been born on the muddy banks of The Yazoo River, Mississippi … it was unhurried, sluggish and oozy. The sax meandered through the thin canes of guitar – then the chorus built up to a wonderful white-water climax with the rumbling bass (from Massimo Avellano) creating dangerously effective under-currents.
Other pleasures at Staines Riverside Club included a fun and sociable ska-shaped medley that included “The Tide Is High” (the 1967 song written by John Holt) with words subtly changed to “The river’s high…” And an epic and creatively re-structured version of the Beatles melodrama “A Day in the Life.”
All-in-all, it was an evening of sweet, warm, reflective and refined music – brought to us by some true quality professionals. And – most importantly – our feet stayed dry!
– © Neil_Mach January 20134 –