|The Railway in action - Photo by Paul Slattery|
I'd just like to say a big "Thank You" to all those involved in helping to ensure the gig at The Railway Hotel in Southend on Saturday March 17th was such a big success. I really appreciate all who turned up to make it a hugely enjoyable night. The Railway really is an excellent place, a beautifully designed late Victorian tavern that looks stunning when darkness falls as the candlelight gives it a wonderfully warm atmosphere. There is a great selection of international beers and real ales on tap and the Staff are very friendly and more importantly, know how to pull a good pint too! In fact the only problem being, it isn't my "local"!
|Photo by Paul Hughes|
Owners Fi and Dave are doing a fantastic job in promoting local music and arts, with events spread across the bar and upstairs venue pretty much 7 days a week. If that's not enough there are also various quiz nights, comedy shows and film screenings too. I'm not sure how Dave and Fi find the time and energy to cram so much into The Railway, but it's certainly inspiring that there are people out there willing to put in so much to promote local arts and music. The night's events got off to a storming start with Canvey Island's excellent Bif Bam Pow!.
|Bif Bam Pow! by Steve Worrall|
The band's logo boasts the tag-line "Maximum Beat & Soul", and they certainly deliver on all fronts with a good time set full of Mod, Soul and Garage Rock cover versions. However, they are by no means purely a party tribute act, far from it! All the band are great musicians and the Hammond organ adds a real authentic feel.
The songs they cover are not just the obvious picks either and show - not just a fan's, but a musician's - appreciation and respect for the music they play. It makes me wonder what they could do if they turned their hand to original material...! Bif Bam Pow! have quite an enthusiastic crowd behind them and soon everyone was dancing and singing along, it really set the perfect tone for the evening ahead. I'd recommend you trying to catch the band live if they play near you, you'll be guaranteed a great time that's for sure.
|Neil Fromow by TheDimLocator|
Next up, attentions were drawn to the other end of the bar and The Len Price 3 took to the stage to deliver a flawless set of their melodic garage pop nuggets. The only slight problem being the stage they took too was rather small and high, so it limited the usually hyper-active antics of Vocalist/Guitarist, Glenn Page.
At times he was bursting to leap from the stage but the lack of space, meant that Drummer and backing Vocalist, Neil Fromow, was pushed centre stage. This actually worked out well, as Neil's harmonies and Keith Moon style are an integral part of The Len Price 3 sound and visuals.
Super-cool Bassist, Steve Huggins, threw his bass around with no regard for health 'n' safety and it made for an exciting spectacle. The band encored with a traditional rendition of their tribute to Big Daddy, "Shirley Crabtree", or as Glenn introduced it, a song about "the days of yore, when wrestling was about fat, middle aged men in tights".
|Dave 'Mondo' Collins - by Paul Hughes|
The night was by no means over though, as Radio Podrophenia DJ's Mondo and Piley took over and played a superb floor shaking selection of Soul, Psychedelia and stomping dance tracks. They also threw in the occasional weird cover version, French Ye-Ye number and kitsch TV theme just to keep everyone guessing. So the night had to come to an end sometime but many of us would have stayed on until the early hours of the morning if they had their way!
So, I'd really like to thank first of all - Fi, Dave and the Staff at The Railway, Lee, Warren, Jay and Bif Bam Pow! Dave and Ian from Radio Podrophenia, The Len Price 3, Photographers Paul Slattery, Paul Hughes and TheDimLocator, Drakeygirl for the great review on The Word Magazine web-site. Those that travelled - Lee, Francis, Simon, Phil Pirrip, Mayumi, Yasuko, Mark Underwood and Mr & Mrs Drakeygirl plus Glenda and all the friendly locals and Railway regulars that made us out-of-towners so welcome. We're already plotting up a return fixture so watch this space...!
You can check out a superb set of atmospheric photos of the night on Paul Hughes' Flickr site. In the meantime here are a selection of more photos:
|Ian "Piley" Pile - by Paul Hughes|
|Bif Bam Pow! by Paul Hughes|
|The Len Price 3 by TheDimLocator|
|Bif Bam Pow! by Paul Hughes|
|The Len Price 3 by Paul Slattery|