Nick Morgan and crew
Review by Dave Broom
REVIEW - THE HAMSTERS
Half Moon, Putney, London, 27th August 2005 by
decided to give the
Hamsters another try. You may remember
they are “The Uk’s best rock and Blues
band (probably)” but failed to impress greatly
in the rain at Cropredy. They also claim to have
been “Voted the UK's best blues-rock band,
and the leading interpreters of the music of Jimi
Hendrix and ZZ Top!”. Well tonight they are
in ZZ Top and Hendrix mode at the delightful Half
Moon in Putney.
a friendly, crowded, sweaty, small room at the back
of a traditional pub that serves traditional warm
beer – if you’re ever in London I seriously
recommend a visit. My son’s in town, and as
he’s recently gone through a charming and
very pleasing transition from something called ‘Nu
Metal’ (yes – no Rammstein in the car
on the way to our B&B hell in Wales later today)
to a diverse range of the new (the Magic Numbers
seem to be a current favourite) and the old (“Hey
dad, did you ever hear of a band called Deep Purple?”).
So in the spirit of furthering his education we’re
here for the Hamsters part two.
not surprisingly what didn’t work in a huge
field goes down much better in a confined space.
And I learn that the Hamsters take their role as
‘interpreters’ quite seriously –
so this isn’t a tribute band pastiche or parody,
it’s respectful, soulful and from the heart.
And I’m reminded of the phrase that went something
like ‘those who can do, those who can’t,
teach’ – because the Hamster’s
own material really is pretty weak – and as
far as I can tell we’re spared most of it
tonight. But maybe it’s a good thing that
someone’s around to occasionally remind us
what this great stuff ‘might have’ (that
lazy historian’s stand-by when facts are short)
sounded like in the flesh.
We get loads of ZZ Top – a band about whom
I know almost nothing, apart from the beards and
the girl in the impossibly tight hotpants. But some
of their tunes seem decent enough, and I learn that
they wrote ‘TV dinners’, performed nicely
by the late Robert Palmer on his last very good
in much safer territory on Hendrix, ‘Fire’,
‘Hey Joe’, ‘Purple haze’,
‘Isabella’, ‘The wind cries for
Mary’, ‘Foxy lady’, ‘Voodoo
child’ (or is it ‘chile’?) et.
al. My son is transfixed, and I’m slightly
worried that he’s trying to do that Northern
European ‘remembering the riffs’ thing
– but then he’s not the only bloke in
the audience with that look on his face. The Hamsters
give it all they’ve got, and bewilderingly
all leave the stage during the last (ZZ Top) number
and return from the audience playing each other’s
instruments. Apparently this is called ‘Entertainment’
– the audience love it.
everyone leaves feeling pretty good about themselves,
and in a week when there’s been a typical
amount of nonsense talked in the Press about the
state of education in the country today etc. (well,
it’s August and there isn’t much else
going on, apart from the cricket that is) I’m
left pondering a crucial gap in today’s curriculum.
Shouldn’t there be a compulsory course in
pub-back-room rhythm and blues?
A note on photography: The Photographer
had to pull out of the gig at the last minute, ‘though
enjoyed the Hendrix highlights via the Nokia. So
I was left with the camera, standing behind a German
photographer (apparently the Hamsters are big in
Germany) who I was trying to copy. That’s
my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. - Nick
Morgan (photos by Nick)
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