In his latest live music review, local music enthusiast and drummer Baz Brehaut was at The Vault to review The Silverados.
When I was about 14 years old, I ventured into our loft. Back then, it was the nearest thing you’d get to going abroad. You could have a complete change of scenery having only travelled about eight feet vertically.
I was looking for my gran's old radio. And I mean old. It pre-dated transistors and solid state printed circuit boards. In its day, it would have been powered by an accumulator cell.
In the absence of such a thing, I bought two Eveready nine-volt batteries and patched them in. To my surprise and horror, the radio briefly sparked into life. During those five seconds of fear and the smell of dust burning off of the valves, a tune cut through, a rockabilly-type sounding tune.
For whatever reason, the opening few bars of the first tune played by The Silverados on Friday took me straight back there - to the loft.
It might have been Monty McMonagle's warm, valve-like sounding chords that triggered the memory of a Bakelite tuning knob, a barely-backlit display reading 'Hilversum, Riga, and Stockholm'.
I knew the song. It was vaguely familiar. Then I realised the band were playing Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol. Think about it, and maybe say it again slowly. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol, but a rockabilly version. If you think that can’t work, I’m afraid you’re wrong. It's pure genius.
Most of us can probably bring to mind a couple of rockabilly tunes and one band in particular come to mind. Runaway Boy by the Stray Cats; Stray Cat Strut; some may even recall Rock This Town. Relax - the band play all three anyway.
What surprised me was that I would now hang around waiting to hear all three the next time the band play. Before I saw the band on Friday, that Stray Cat sound would have left me cold.
Rockabilly brings to mind pale looking lads with unconvincing quiffs driving their grandad's 12-year-old pastel blue Vauxhall Velox, but the Siverados bury that image, and bury it deep.
Their high energy and, crucially, competent treatment of those songs you know and love will mean that any residual angst or preconceived ideas you had about rockabilly are forgotten as you lose yourself in a blizzard of newly-acquired dance moves.
There is a balance to be had - a degree of quality control over the choice of cover version. If the band went through Joy Divison’s back catalogue, it may not have worked quite so well. Although The Smiths perhaps have the depth of material that might just provide a decent rockabilly cover, This Charming Man would fit the bill.
The band play an eclectic set of ‘standards’ such as Tainted love, Venus and Perfect, which were well received. But I wasn’t prepared for the Beastie Boys, Right to Party, Blondie’s Call Me and wait for it...Blinding Lights by The Weekend - inspired, just brilliant.
The band are something of a pocket rocket, fronted on vocals by Susan Hatcher and her 50s-style chromium mic and Dave Hatcher on his imposing black double bass, which is also his dancing partner.
Sav joined them on drums. A nice snare sound too, as if a handful of rice or gravel was sat in the bottom of the drum which gave it a bit of a gritty-sounding edge. Good to see Justin, Sav's predecessor, in the crowd, too, who popped in to catch some of the set.
It’s the combination of Dave’s double bass and Monty's deep, rich, warm-sounding guitar that gives the band that iconic rockabilly vibe and feel.
It all came together nicely in the instrumental Misirlou at the beginning of the second set - a ‘surf’ tune made popular by the film Pulp Fiction.
The band really are as tight as a very tight drum. And we shouldn’t be that surprised as the band members have years of experience, decades of performances under their respective rockabilly-studded belts.
What the band do is certainly not cabaret, although if done badly it would be, and there’s the thing. In essence, a simple idea - pick a popular tune and give it the rockabilly treatment.
But things would unravel pretty quickly if you didn’t have the drive, energy and affection for the genre (sorry - that g word) to pull it off in the first place.
If a friend called to tell you a local folk combo were covering the complete works of Anthrax, you might want to catch at least one number, but the novelty would soon wear off. So, if I was to ask if you fancied popping out to see a rockabilly band play Run DMC’s Walk This Way, you may well have a few reservations, but fear not - it works, and it works rather well.
I drove home thinking that perhaps a Vauxhall Velox is a practical classic after all - and with whitewall tyres, too. I’ll put my gran's radio in the back, and turn it up, loud!