Monday, July 19, 2010

Kilburn takes a bite out of the Big Sandwich...

I got very excited last week, when I found out that Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys and Carlos & The Bandidos were playing in London on Saturday. I was even more excited to hear that they were playing in my neighbourhood, at The Luminaire in Kilburn.

The show started relatively early, with Carlos & The Bandidos taking to the stage at around 8.30pm. I thought their set was fun, and they won me over with their gun-popping, sombrero-wearing mayhem. I love a band with a theme and matching costumes, and the fact that theirs is Mexican makes me like them even more....mmmm guacamole....

The band were energetic and I particularly enjoyed their rendition of Ray Charles' Unchain My Heart, although in terms of hitting the dance floor, their style is not really as danceable as Big Sandy's - however, saying that, nobody danced all night anyway, so I suppose this point is irrelevant to the situation in case!

Now, The Lumi is great, because it is a nice small venue (but not too small) with great sound, so the shows here are intimate, but with enough space to fit in a good crowd with everyone getting a decent vantage point.

It was immediately apparent that everyone was very excited to see Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, and it was indeed a treat to have them come to Kilburn. But what was nice, was that the whole band also seemed genuinely happy to be there, and ended up putting on a super long show that lasted around two hours.

The band were on top form, and played a sublime set, effortlessly. Their sound was tight and Big Sandy's voice was sweet, and whilst the performance was filled with jokes and banter, they played their music with such ease and experience.

Big Sandy heard tequila calling - and indeed it was, as a couple of his friends in the audience kept plying the band with shots throughout the show! Clearly as professional with their shot drinking as with their music playing, they knocked them back without any apparent effect on their performance...

I have to admit, although I have seen the band a few times now, this was the first time that I actually stood and watched them the whole way through, as on previous occassions, I have always been busy dancing along to the music. As much as I enjoyed watching them, my feet were itching to dance, to the point of pain at hearing such fun danceable music!!!

Mid-set, two members of the audience took to the stage, taking over on guitar and double bass. These two, were in fact Boz (guitarist for The Polecats and Morrissey, to name a couple) and Lyn Boorer, and you can check out their performance in this great video that someone captured at the show:

Amongst the excitement, there was also a hen night in full effect, and the bride-to-be was invited up on stage and serenaded, appropriately, with Here Comes The Bride. What an awesome hen night (or 'bachelorette party' to my American counterparts)!

At the top of my 'most amusing moments' of the gig though, was when one of the band's friends in the audience (I think her name was Sally?) leaned over the edge of the stage during their last song, and proceeded to tuck their trousers into their cowboy boots! Hahahah! They kept on playing, and she kept on tucking, so that by the end, Fly-Rite guitarist, Ashley Kingman, and Big Sandy himself had their boots on full display. Reading this does not sound as funny as watching it, but in any case, it tickled me seeing them all dapper in their suits and then looking down to see their trousers clumsily protruding from their footwear.

Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys will be back in the UK to play at Rhythm Riot in November, but hopefully I will get to go back to California and see one of their shows before then....fingers crossed....


  1. LOL, I bet that was Sally Turner who tucked the trousers in!

    I used to date a musician who was from London, and he once told me that in Europe, NOBODY dances during a performance of a band. They believe it is rude to do that. You go see a band perform to watch them perform. You dance to records in England, often played before and after the band plays.

  2. It sounds like it was an excellent show. However I can't imagine hearing live music and NOT dancing. Granted each culture has its own traditions and ideas of ettiquette, I just personally feel that dancing to a band is a compliment, especially when it is done with abandon. A certain synergy is achieved when dancers and musicians feed off of each others energy. I can't think of a better way to pay homage to a bands musicianship than to bop, jive, lindy, swing to one's content.

  3. Hmm, I suppose there is a case for both points.

    I do see people dancing at gigs, but it most likely depends on the venue and the crowd (whether it is more of a dancer crowd or dance focussed night). I can understand that people go to watch the band, otherwise you could just be listening to a record, and what's the point of actually going to 'see' them live. But at the same time, I think bands like it when the crowd enjoys their music enough to get up and show their appreciation by dancing along.

    It is different when you go to see a band or musician, say, for example if you went to see an artist like Michael Jackson who would put on a whole show with his own choreographed performance, but I think in this kind of situation it's fun to throw in a bit obvious recognition for their music's ability to get your toes tapping to the point where you cannot resist dancing along. In fact, I often go to shows here where the bands encourage the audience to get up and shake it!