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Concert Review by Nick Morgan
 
THE INMATES, The Borderline, London, 6th May 2006
We really should go to the Borderline more often. Although the décor may be somewhat lacking (if Quentin Tarantino ever wanted to dream up the Mexican restaurant from hell this would be it. Wait, hang on a minute …) it’s a small friendly dive with an always interesting schedule of gigs, combining new and old British talent with lesser known touring bands who might find it hard to find a venue elsewhere. It’s not full tonight, but it’s busy, a mixed audience, a good few of whom I clock as regular 100 Clubbers.
The Inmates: Bill Hurley (left) and Peter Gunn (right)
Having miserably failed to find the names of the first two bands – one a nice young R&B outfit with a good harmonica player, the other a VERY LOUD thrash punk meets Black Sabbath thing – I can assure you that the main attraction were veteran London rockers the Inmates. Formed at the tail end of punk in 1977 they remain famous (to me at least) for their fantastic single ‘Dirty water’ (originally recorded by the Standells) which turned out to be a hit both here and across the pond. I still have my copy somewhere, but you can find it on the Inmate’s myspace page. The band were also very popular in France, famously performing a huge gig in Paris in 1987 organised by the newspaper Liberation to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the release of Sergeant Pepper – the ‘legendary’ resulting album, Meet the Beatles: Live in Paris has recently been re-released, as has the classic Fast Forward, which, unless I’m much mistaken, makes up the majority of the set.
There’s nothing slick about the Inmates; their trademark is raw sound and raw energy, and they’ve retained this (more or less) over thirty years. By and large they’ve aged pretty well too, although the cameras can’t lie about front man Bill Hurley’s burly beer belly and flowing grey locks. But forget that – his voice is remarkable, with a huge range that he puts to good, if sometimes theatrical, effect. The rhythm section is tight, and lead guitarist Peter Gunn (apparently he left the band for a while but is now back in the fold, as we were emotionally told by Pete himself) is in fine rocking shape.
That’s all – they were great fun, played like demons for an hour, and then came back to play ‘Dirty Water’ as an encore. Perfect Saturday night whiskyfun. - Nick Morgan (photographs by Kate)



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