Photos by Paul Hughes
Swishy, sweaty and spectacular - is the answer! And where we were joined by London based label bosses, journalists, DJs - and our surprise, special guest, watching from side-stage - Mr Wilko Johnson..
Round One... Swindle.
With fourteen songs, one set list to sequence and only two evenings for me to rehearse (at home, playing along to the records) - we set up our stall of seditious and subversive standards, opening with a triple-fisted slam of Bodies, I Fought the Law, and Neat Neat Neat - exiting stage left, one plectrum-snapping, sweat-heavy, sticky-steaming hour later. - closing with a sing-a-long final lap of Pretty Vacant, Blitzkrieg Bop and Another Girl Another Planet (for the encore)
Round Two - Eight Rounds Rapid
The last time Eight Rounds stepped onto a Southend stage, prior to Wilko's Farewell tour - was for our Podrophenia/8RR/Thee Faction team-up. During the course of a sixty minute set mixing known faves and new songs (Bully Boy) 8RR took The Railway apart track by track. Of course there are shadows of the Feelgoods in the sour expressions and ruffled 'n' dusty suits, but these boys are an all-new threat, with the heavy-level menace and cocksure manner of villains at a secret speakeasy planning an international blag.
Lee Watkins jabs and batters his kit like a boxer at a sparring session. Bass player Juju prowls, grins and winks like a card sharp, while Simon Johnson is all fidgets and tics, hoovering around the stage crackling and overcharged as if he's been wired directly into to the national grid. By contrast Dave Alexander's static, crisp 'n' dry delivery, face-front manner and unblinking stare have the command and control of Michael Caine's performance in Get Carter. A game-raising display that saw the Eight Rounders literally drawing blood, sweat and tear-ups for the assembled home crowd and visiting London callers
Round Three - Podrophenia
For the after-show in bar from 11 onwards, Piley and I tag-teamed between nineties indie-bits and obscure popsters, to soul shakers, funky covers and something that's becoming a standard - passing the disco baton from K C (me) to Donna Summer (Piley).. And behold - as Mike Herbage, he of Department S, takes a breather from shaking a Podrophonic leg to our tunes… (stage right, glasses - holding a drink)
For the full glory and gallery of the evening (and until we re-group again in December) have a thumb threw Paul Hughes Flickr sets hereabouts