This was one of the best gigs I’ve been to in recent years – one of the best I’ve seen at the Boom Boom Club too. Having arrived at the club, cousin Charlie and myself were greeted at the door by none other than promoter PETE FEENSTRA himself for a genuinely warm welcome. Thanks Pete! It was obviously going to be a popular show as the place was filling up quite early – with middle-aged music punters (like Charlie and myself!)
First up was the support act THE GABRIELLA JONES BAND. Now, I was interested to see what they were all about as I didn’t have a clue, and hadn’t had time to research them. Perhaps I was expecting something like a 60s covers band; I didn’t know. I was pleasantly surprised to find however, that they were a young original band; and like THE MOVE (and many other great bands; too numerous to mention), hailed from the Birmingham area. Gabriella (armed with a Gibson Les Paul) + her boys, took to the stage and steamed into their opening number ‘Take It Literally’ – we did; and we enjoyed it! It was a good start. After a couple of numbers, she strapped on an acoustic and did her self-penned ‘Blue Hills And Purple Butterflies’ (Its on You tube). It was a pretty song and she played and sung it beautifully as a solo spot. She followed this with her own acoustic arrangement of the METALLICA hit, ‘Nothing Else Matters’. I was expecting the rest of the band to blast in for the finale of this classic (as in the original), but she did it totally alone; which was unexpected – and very good.
With reliable drumming from Tom Lewis; good steady bass playing from Reece Dillon; and competant guitar from Jon Moore (with what looked like an old Gretsch – I think); Gabriella performed a very good set of both original work, and covers. She has quite a presence on stage; and shows a confidence beyond what you’d expect for such a young artist (she told me afterwards that she was only recently 20). She fronts the band with a unique and feminine style; her delicate hands barely seemed to touch the guitar strings, yet she grasped barre chords with accuracy, and with no discernable mistakes – during both the quieter and the rockier songs. Her voice too is able to belt out the raunchy stuff as well as the sensitive – either way with a passion. For ‘Hold On’ she even sang without guitar at all; concentrating on the vocals. All in all, a fine performance from a young band with a potential to go far. Well done to them, and good luck for the future. Go and see them if you get a chance.
And now for the main course – one of the big, big names of the 60s music scene: THE MOVE. Now as a kid, just as I was begining to become aware of good music, I remember listening to the groups of the time on Radio 1; not realising at that tender age, that I was listening to some very ground-breaking sounds in the history of pop. All I knew was that I liked it. In particular the British bands of that memorable era (again, too numerous to name). But among them of course, was THE MOVE. Some of their songs have remained favourites of mine all these years: ‘Flowers In The Rain’; Fire Brigade’ and especially the iconic hit ‘Blackberry Way’. I’d never seen the band live before, so when I heard that they’d embarked upon their last ever tour, and were due to play THE BOOM BOOM CLUB, Sutton; I jumped at the chance (having missed them recently at THE TOUCHLINE CLUB in Essex).
Nowadays they consist of two original members: TREVOR BURTON on guitar; and BEV BEVAN on drums; and supplemented these days by PHIL TREE, bass; TONY KELSEY, guitar; and ABBY BRANT on keyboards (dubbed the ‘Movette’ by Burton!). Now there are those Move purists who would say that without the remarkable character and founder member ROY WOOD, (and perhaps other early members) they are not the same band and won’t be worth watching – but they would be very wrong; because this turned out to be a fantasticly enjoyable gig.
The lads climbed on stage to great applause from the audience, and immediately kicked off their set with their 1967 psychedelically inspired hit single ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’. This was a far rockier version than the original that I remembered, but it was excellent, and set the tone for the night. The cheers had barely died down when they gave us another old classic: ‘Fire Brigade’. Then Burton spoke briefly about their early residency at THE MARQUEE CLUB before they played a song reminiscent of that era: the R’n’R classic ‘Something Else’.
‘Flowers In The Rain’ was next. And Burton reminded us that it had the dubious honour of being the first record ever played on Radio 1 back in ’67! The band’s first ever single, ‘Night Of Fear’ (1966) soon followed. (To be honest I only remembered it when I heard it!) Keyboard player Abby Brant then sung the old ERMA FRANKLIN hit ‘Piece Of My Heart’ which the band apparently covered in the old days. She done it really well too. I didn’t realise (in my ignorance) that Roy Wood had penned the AMEN CORNER hit ‘Hello Suzie’; but he certainly did; and it was played next in The Move’s inimitable rock style.
The oft-covered Carole King song ‘Goin’ Back’ was up next; followed by ‘Wild Tiger Woman’; and ‘Brontosaurus’ (with a great slide guitar solo from Kelsey on his white Telecaster). Next was a great blues song which I didn’t know, called ‘Mercury Blues’; which (me being a big fan of the genre) I really enjoyed! Big hit ‘Do Ya’, was followed by a song which was never done by The Move, but by Burton’s own band: ‘Wild Young Thing’. Like everything they played, it went down really well.
Back in the late ’60s, The Move had an association with the legendary JIMI HENDRIX. So as a tribute to his genius, the band played a blinding version of ‘Hey Joe’; with superb lead guitar from Burton. Now lots of people do Hendrix covers, but you need to be good to do it well – Burton passed with flying colours – well done sir!
Well the show was nearly over, and they’d kept us waiting long enough for the two big ones! They stormed into their Rock’n’Roll classic ‘California Man’; and it hit us like a sledgehammer! But the highlight was the iconic ‘Blackberry Way’ – arguably their greatest hit (their only Number 1); and surely one of the most memorable songs of the late ’60s? An encore was demanded at this point; so without leaving the stage, they announced that they would play a song by another great Brummie musician and a great friend of theirs, STEVIE WINWOOD’s ‘Gimme Some Lovin’.
Apart from the music, and their brilliant performance of it; another thing I really liked about this gig was the fact that there was plenty of pre-amble between songs, where Burton and Bevan gave us anecdotes and quips about their adventures on the road and about people and places they’d been. It was a comedy show at times! Both Burton and Bevan have a great rapport with their fans, and it is appreciated. The band had as good a time as the audience. All in all a brilliant concert. There are a few dates left on this, The Move’s final tour (including The Isle Of Wight Festival); so if you get a chance, I’d recommend going to see them – you won’t be disappointed! To be honest though, I can’t see them wanting to give this up, even though they are getting on a bit. My guess is that it won’t be the last we’ll see of the group – let’s hope I’m right!