Nick Morgan and crew
Review by Nick Morgan
CHAS AND DAVE The 100 Club, London, February
Serge, welcome to my knees-up nightmare. Crash bang
wallop! We took a smash and grab – that was
a Paul McKenna – to the rub-a-dub, got a couple
of Britneys (a bloody deep sea diver!), grabbed
a lion’s lair in the Johnny Horner, sat on
our fifes and enjoyed the Russell. The place was
packed – not your usual 100 Club muso crowd,
more like a cross between an East End wedding reception
and a Hen Night (yes Serge – we still have
them here, despite your bird flu’) in Southend.
We’ve got a mum, dad and kids in front of
us, a bemused American sociologist to our left,
and to the right, in a tight 1960s psychedelic Dicky,
someone who looks remarkably like Lionel Blair (and
who, for the amusement of Cockney rhyming slang
aficionados, is actually wearing a pair of flares).
The excellent DJ Boss
Goodman is working his way through a fine selection
of British R&B, and making quite a Serge.
here to see Chas
and Dave. They’re hot. They wowed
Glastonbury, toured with the Libertines, and have
at last made it big in the USA. In case you don’t
know they play rockney – a unique combination
of cockney sing-a-long songs and rock and roll.
Sounds awful doesn’t it – barely better
than my Dad’s favourite long-player, always
brought out at Christmas, Mrs Mills Honk-Tonk Christmas
Party Favourites Volume 9.
it’s a lot cleverer than that – slightly
misogynistic yet innocent reflections on the fragility
of the human condition I would say, with lyrical
callisthenics of astonishing accomplishment (yes
I know ‘Rabbit’ drove everyone bonkers
in the end but listen to it again and you’ll
have to admit it really is sweet).
although they wear their talent very lightly, Chas
Hodges (piano) and Dave Peacock (bass) are musicians
of no mean skill, with a long list of session work
to their names. Dave might be one of the best bass
players we see all year. Oh yes – and on drums
is Micky Burt – formerly of the late and much
lamented Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers (“Oi
Mick, let’s ‘av some stick”),
doing a passable impersonation of Albert Steptoe.
Strangely Chas comes to the stage with his own bodyguard
– but it’s easy to see why as the girls
(and their Mums, and their Grannies) close in on
the cramped stage. “Are there any London girls
in ‘ere tonight” almost provokes a riot
– just as the photographer goes into action.
But it’s a happy crowd with just the right
number of Britneys inside them – no sign of
trouble here. We get what we might expect –
‘Rabbit’, ‘Gertcha’, ‘Beer
belly’, ‘Margate’, ‘London
girls’, and of course, the number one smash
‘Ain’t no pleasing you’, with
a selection of somewhat interminable instrumental
medleys of the Mrs Mills meets Russ Conway school.
But overall it’s great fun and educational
too – we learn all the special hand signals
you have to give to different songs from the Mum
in front of us, who like almost everyone else knows
the words and the dances off by heart.
By the end you could hardly move. A passing bus
party of Pearly Kings and Queens had joined us,
and behind them came a veritable procession of barrow
boys, coster-mongers, cockle sellers, lovable street
urchins and poor little match-girls. Lionel B was
busy choreographing them in the style of the opening
number from the other Lionel’s Fings ain’t
wot they used t’be. There’s a gang of
dodgy villains from Kent at the bar buying everyone
drinks with £500 notes. The Mum in front has
succumbed to the several bottles of the 100 Club’s
special Chateau Neuf et Six, and has to be restrained
by the bouncer, and her kids, from jumping all over
Why Serge, I swear I even saw the late Queen Mum
there enjoying the crack with a nice glass of hock
as the deathly silent whistle of V2 missiles could
be heard overhead.
What a knees-up!
a night! What a knees up! I saw Chas and Dave described
as ‘strangely life affirming’ in a Guardian
review last year – but that’s just Guardian
Jackson Pollocks isn’t it? They’re simply
good fun – if you get the chance go along
and enjoy. - Nick Morgan (concert photographs
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