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Concert Review by Nick Morgan
CHAS AND DAVE The 100 Club, London, February 24th 2006
Well Serge, welcome to my knees-up nightmare. Crash bang wallop! We took a smash and grab – that was a Paul McKenna – to the rub-a-dub, got a couple of Britneys (a bloody deep sea diver!), grabbed a lion’s lair in the Johnny Horner, sat on our fifes and enjoyed the Russell. The place was packed – not your usual 100 Club muso crowd, more like a cross between an East End wedding reception and a Hen Night (yes Serge – we still have them here, despite your bird flu’) in Southend. We’ve got a mum, dad and kids in front of us, a bemused American sociologist to our left, and to the right, in a tight 1960s psychedelic Dicky, someone who looks remarkably like Lionel Blair (and who, for the amusement of Cockney rhyming slang aficionados, is actually wearing a pair of flares). The excellent DJ Boss Goodman is working his way through a fine selection of British R&B, and making quite a Serge.

Lionel Blair
We’re here to see Chas and Dave. They’re hot. They wowed Glastonbury, toured with the Libertines, and have at last made it big in the USA. In case you don’t know they play rockney – a unique combination of cockney sing-a-long songs and rock and roll. Sounds awful doesn’t it – barely better than my Dad’s favourite long-player, always brought out at Christmas, Mrs Mills Honk-Tonk Christmas Party Favourites Volume 9.
Actually it’s a lot cleverer than that – slightly misogynistic yet innocent reflections on the fragility of the human condition I would say, with lyrical callisthenics of astonishing accomplishment (yes I know ‘Rabbit’ drove everyone bonkers in the end but listen to it again and you’ll have to admit it really is sweet).
And although they wear their talent very lightly, Chas Hodges (piano) and Dave Peacock (bass) are musicians of no mean skill, with a long list of session work to their names. Dave might be one of the best bass players we see all year. Oh yes – and on drums is Micky Burt – formerly of the late and much lamented Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers (“Oi Mick, let’s ‘av some stick”), doing a passable impersonation of Albert Steptoe.
Strangely Chas comes to the stage with his own bodyguard – but it’s easy to see why as the girls (and their Mums, and their Grannies) close in on the cramped stage. “Are there any London girls in ‘ere tonight” almost provokes a riot – just as the photographer goes into action. But it’s a happy crowd with just the right number of Britneys inside them – no sign of trouble here. We get what we might expect – ‘Rabbit’, ‘Gertcha’, ‘Beer belly’, ‘Margate’, ‘London girls’, and of course, the number one smash ‘Ain’t no pleasing you’, with a selection of somewhat interminable instrumental medleys of the Mrs Mills meets Russ Conway school. But overall it’s great fun and educational too – we learn all the special hand signals you have to give to different songs from the Mum in front of us, who like almost everyone else knows the words and the dances off by heart.
By the end you could hardly move. A passing bus party of Pearly Kings and Queens had joined us, and behind them came a veritable procession of barrow boys, coster-mongers, cockle sellers, lovable street urchins and poor little match-girls. Lionel B was busy choreographing them in the style of the opening number from the other Lionel’s Fings ain’t wot they used t’be. There’s a gang of dodgy villains from Kent at the bar buying everyone drinks with £500 notes. The Mum in front has succumbed to the several bottles of the 100 Club’s special Chateau Neuf et Six, and has to be restrained by the bouncer, and her kids, from jumping all over Chas.
Why Serge, I swear I even saw the late Queen Mum there enjoying the crack with a nice glass of hock as the deathly silent whistle of V2 missiles could be heard overhead.

What a knees-up!
What a night! What a knees up! I saw Chas and Dave described as ‘strangely life affirming’ in a Guardian review last year – but that’s just Guardian Jackson Pollocks isn’t it? They’re simply good fun – if you get the chance go along and enjoy. - Nick Morgan (concert photographs by Kate)

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