Chords UK: Big City Dreams goes down a storm at 100 Club.
Alan May set the tone before The Chords UK set foot on stage with the usual classics heard on The Glory Boy Mod Radio show playing a selection of mod, punk, post punk, metal and a few comedy tunes to get the crowd in the mood. It was clear from the atmosphere that everyone who attended were in for a good night.
Forget Storm Eunice and the O2 arenas roof, the 100 clubs roof took a pounding Saturday night (19/02/22). From the moment they kicked off with ‘Listen to the Radio’ the audience were with Chris Pope belting out opening lines ‘Hello!, Hello! and the opening chords blasted along to ‘ schools out and boy we’re gonna fry’ referencing the ’76 heatwave and a time when you listened to the Top 40, ironically this single made the Heritage Top 40 !
The Chords UK had just completed a tour of Spain, Mick and Jan Yoxall who saw them there told me ” they were so relaxed and really enjoying the fantastic support they received there. All the gigs were sold out.” Now back in the UK they were at their home ground and the audience went wild for ‘Something’s missing’ a 1980’s classic, Chris Pope might have written this 40 years ago but it sat alongside “Radio” like a two-part work of Art. You could tell how comfortable the band are with one another they are a tight unit, able to read each others musical moves. Ken Cooper pounds along to the ‘The Last Great Rock Star’ building to the ‘Ready, Steady, Go!!’ while Pope screams ‘it’s time for yesterdays!’, Sandy Michie, who looks every inch the part of the rock guitarist steps forward and playfully duels with Pope with the guitar leads, both stepping forward and back towards one another. The lyrics have lost none of their edge or relevance, Pope is a masterful songwriter who gets beneath the niceties and spin of modern day living, he is champion for the under dog. A spokesman for fairness and the ‘average Joe’ the tale of a restless girl, who has had enough of cruelties and has ‘Turned and walked Away’ is amplified by Ken’s marching drumming in a Dave Clark Five ‘Bits and Pieces’ -esque opening there is no lingering between tracks and the mixes are seamless ‘Billions’ is about not giving up and adding to the bucket list of life, the Chords UK are certainly doing that, with more tours planned for Los Angeles, across the UK and back to Spain.
Their presence on national and international radio, reviews in the national newspapers means they will have a ‘Billion things to do’. Mic Stoner, bass guitarist has a busy schedule playing in two great bands, simultaneously. His versatile and energetic style means he suits both ‘Eddie and The Hot Rods’ and The Chords UK. He can drop into old Chords classics like ‘Now it’s Gone’ and ‘One more Minute’, like second nature. The crowd go crazy, singing along, jumping and pointing to the band in ecstasy. The Chords UK are riding the vibe and tapping into the energy of the audience with bursts of Small Faces ‘Hey Girl’ and Clash ‘Pressure Drop’ mixed up in melody of ‘In my Street’ and it worked ! The crowd love it. It takes skilled musicians to be adventurous with longer guitar or drum solos thrown in for good measure and to all come back together goes to show how they have evolved. This new album by the band is a real showcase of their talent, each track is different – if they were food dishes you could taste the different ingredients. There is rock, punk, ska, indie, R&B and a whole banquet fit for old Henry himself.
One of my favourites, no two of my favourites tracks the truth is, there are so many gems on this album. I love ‘Portobello Road’ it is so descriptive of this iconic area, it captures the essence of the place, the sights, the sounds, the taste in true Ray Davies style of writing there is even a mention of a ‘bootleg Kinks EP’, ‘Veronica Jones’ takes the tempo down to a gentle sway before being catapulted stratospherically skywards with ‘Hey Kids! Come the Revolution’, a clever observant tale of the barstool warrior putting the world to right, reassuring the youth ” Don’t worry, come the revolution “; the clever part to this tale is that decades later, the youth are telling the next generation how messed up things still are in the world but ” don’t worry, come the revolution “
Just when you think the night can’t be upped anymore, we get , three greats from 1980 ‘ So far away’, ‘The British way of Life ‘ and ‘Tumbling Down ‘.
The crowd is electrified, they are leaping, singing and shouting sandwiched between these is the intoxicating, bouncy ’21st Century girl’, Pope contrasts her life with the generations before, there is a bitter irony that she has so much in her modern life but compared to the previous generation she has lost out on so much too. The happy, bouncy feel give this sentiment more poignancy..that sense of loss, that she is unaware of. But hey, that’s just my take on this great tune. Check it out for yourself, it’s the Chords UK’s latest single and it too is climbing the Heritage Top 40.
The band end their successful set with ‘Tumbling Down’ and ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ Chris Pope outstretched his arms, Ken leaps from his drum kit, Sandy and Mic put down their guitars the 100 Club raise the roof as they show their appreciation!