Neon Animal / Paradise Alley / Dead Hombres

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Neon Animal / Paradise Alley / Dead Hombres - Rockaway Beach, Hope and Anchor (UK) - 28 February 2020

Rockaway Beach is probably the only club in London where you will hear stuff like the Soho Roses from that very particular time at the Marquee in Wardour Street circa 1985-87 and probably find the surviving attendees from London.

Tonight's openers out of the live bands were Dead Hombres who sound very like the Dog's D'amour and clearly have a fixation for old cowboy movies, opening and closing with instrumental 'El Muerto' which evokes the Wild West. Pointy black boots with metal toe caps also spoke of Marquee-era London. They are in fact three men, and a woman on bass with flaming red hair. They have a few Lords Of The New Church mixed with Country and Western style numbers, and songs like 'Crazy People' were more up-tempo Punk. 'Baby Moonrider' is super "dogsy" so Tyla fans will enjoy.

Paradise Alley's singer Steve Vincent has kept that late eighties crimped black hair, red balls on fire belts and animal print vibe, Ray Zell era London look. With Veteran Hanoi fan and London SS member Taj Sagoo on guitar, and new blood Sammy Guns on bass (who looks like he could have been in Crash Diet or Reckless Love and reminds of a young Duff McKagan or Steven Adler complete with an Andy McCoy hat) the image is strong. The material is high-speed, trashy Rock 'n' Roll with high kicks and possibly a hint of Tigertailz thrown in. It brought a tear to the eye to be reminded so strongly of my days at the Marquee in the late eighties and my misspent youth. Only the Scandinavians have really been getting close to anything like this sound and look lately and, of course, theirs is a second hand prism. Paradise Alley are the real deal. They are only just starting off and although I thought a lot of the songs were similar in sound, no doubt they will develop more material. I loved the backing vocals on the last song I Don't Care which did add melodic depth. Overall it was the look and feel of the gig that I loved and I will be trying to get to as many of their gigs that I can make in the future, just for my own personal pleasure.

Headliners Neon Animal stormed the stage with an impossible energy that initially the audience found hard to meet. However, singer Mark Thorn was having none of it and called them out. Frankly, if I was putting as much effort as he does into a gig (think Mick Jagger on Speed) I would expect more too, and it wasn't long before this barrage of nasty, angry Rock 'n' Roll that the audience buckled down and were dragged kicking and screaming into letting themselves go and enjoying themselves. 'I Can Tell You Love Me' with its graphic lyrics helped, and in fact at the end the band were not allowed to go before doing an encore so they repeated it and this time the crowd were going wild, dancing and throwing themselves around the floor.

The set was mostly a set of popular tracks from their debut album like 'Bring Back Rock 'n' Roll From The Dead' and latest EP like 'Sexual City', but there is a new album on the way and there was a new track, 'Let's Make The World Rock'. Miguel Martin's monster riffs and Rock 'n' Roll guitar is obviously a huge part of the Neon Animal sound and is sheer class, a pleasure to experience. He almost goes a little Mark Knopfler in 'Bedtime Stories' and his powerful guitar tone is great. Such are Mark's gesticulations during 'Raquel' that at one point he lost the end of his mike into the audience, like a sort of premature ejaculation he's as surprised as the audience. At another point the monitor stacked on a crate flew into the audience. His Rockstar frame and silver snake print Chelsea boots with lightning flash shaped ankle elastic speak to the seventies Rock and Glam in which their roots lie. Now so used to Jagger comparisons, they announced "let's have a bit of fun" and did a decent, noisy, Punk-ish cover of 'Satisfaction' by the Rolling Stones. 'Vive Le Rock' rounded out the main set. With coronavirus and new year gloom the audience were a challenge tonight, but by the end of the set well and truly harnessed they were Neon Animal's bitch.

Dawn Osborne

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