The Electric Shakes, Gay Army and Ray & The Guns – The Fermain Tavern – 03/10/15

The Electric Shakes
The Electric Shakes

Rock ‘n’ roll and garage was out in full force last weekend as Thee Jenerators delivered a stripped back, chaotic and powerful performance at the De La Rue on Friday followed, on Saturday, by the return to the island of Bournemouth’s The Electric Shakes at The Fermain Tavern.

The night started out with Ray & The Guns kicking off their set with a spirited take on Imelda May’s Psycho. Now without a trumpet player it gives some of the songs a bit of a different feel, but one that for the most part, works well and brings out their rock ‘n’ roll vibe much more, especially as they segued into Vince Taylor’s Brand New Cadillac.

After a storming outing at The Vault in August, here the five-piece were a bit less energetic, though that may be down to opening the show to an interested but not as enthusiastic audience. As the set went on the energy picked up a bit, with a particular highlight being their take on Please Don’t Touch (previously made famous by Motorhead & Girlschool and originally by Johnny Kidd & The Pirates).

Ray and the Guns
Rosie and Nick of Ray and the Guns

As always Nick Dodd was understatedly excellent on guitar and his playing, described by one gig goer as having the style of “stoner rockabilly”, was a highlight and linchpin of the band’s sound, while Rosie Allsopp’s punkier streak added a nice vocal counterpoint Rachael Cumberland-Dodd’s more traditional style.

Much like the aforementioned show at The Vault, also on the bill here were the recently revived Gay Army. Once again frontman Rolls Reilly was all over the stage and dancefloor, and doing his best to get the crowd engaged, but it just seemed to have the effect of keeping them back in the shadows – though they seemed content to stay there anyway.

While as tight as they ever are Gay Army’s performance lacked something of the intensity their style of post-punk/indie requires and it left things feeling a bit weak and at times reminiscent of the less inspiring bits of U2’s oeuvre.

Gay Army
Gay Army

This in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for a band renowned for their dangerous, edgy performances it was something of a disappointment.

Later in the set Cut The Wire did start to show more of Gay Army’s usual style but it was too little too late and, while a technically solid performance, it didn’t reach the heights of the two other outings since their revival.

Following well-received shows both at The Tav and on the main stage at Chaos earlier in the year, The Electric Shakes have been on something of a roll with great outings on their visits to Guernsey thus far.

The Electric Shakes
The Electric Shakes

If there’s one word to describe their performance here though, the only one I could go with is ‘LOUD!’

Unfortunately a side effect of the sheer force of volume was that it all became a bit muddy which drained the songs of some of their power.

Despite that the three-piece gave it their all on stage with bass player Eric being a particularly energetic standout.

While the dancefloor was busy most seemed content to stand and watch with only a handful getting moving and much of the rest of the venue emptying out.

As the set went on we got treated to a lot of new material alongside songs from the band’s self-titled debut record and it certainly seemed that the new numbers have the same kind of retro-rock ‘n’ roll appeal as the more familiar tracks.

The Electric Shakes
The Electric Shakes

Highlights of the set were Stereotypical Girls and The Doctor and the new song debuted in the encore that had great bouncy ‘pogo’ potential but unfortunately in the face of a wall of ear-splitting volume few got moving to it.

While again well received and well delivered I could only feel that, much like with Gay Army, something of the power and energy I’ve enjoyed of The Electric Shakes in the past got lost in translation somewhere on this occasion.

You can see more of my photos of the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page here.

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