For the last few months Friday nights at The Doghouse in Guernsey, a venue normally known for hosting tribute and cover bands, has been playing host to bands from the island playing their own music with Its Own Animal (aka Garry Minto) curating the line ups.
For the first weekend of March 2023 the venue welcomed The Erberts as they celebrated the release of their debut single, Half Past Dead, with support coming from the HQ House Band.
Comprised tonight (to start with at least) of former Lord Vapour and current Le Beaubo duo Squirrel and Joe Le Long, both armed with acoustic guitars, they treated us to a relaxed set of songs mixing covers, originals and a few Band Of Squirrels numbers that brought a loose, 1960s/70s, groovy feel and somehow added some Californian warmth to a chilly March evening.
Later in the set their Le Beaubo comrade Grace Tayler added some more vocals with all three showing an impressive if somehow unassuming level of talent with some nice vocal harmonies and great dual guitar work.
This managed to change the atmosphere in the bar, where previously football had been playing on the screens with modern dance pop coming through the speakers, into something ready for more live music.
It’s been a while since I last caught The Erberts and I have to say I really wasn’t sure what to expect but certainly it was not entirely what I got, certainly the four piece provided some great grooves and jams but along with that came a lot more.
Comprised of former RentOClean members Dan Guilbert (guitar and vocals), Tom Erskine (guitar and occasional vocals) and Kieran Smale (drums) along with the aforementioned Joe Le Long (bass) they started with a longer jammed out song before playing their debut single, Half Past Dead, and it soon became clear we were heading a kind of blues direction.
Initially this had a relaxed feel I could maybe classify as surf blues (if I was attempting to stretch a kind of point) but, as the set went on, the sounds became more insistent with hints of rock ‘n’ roll, punk and more starting to emerge.
By half way through the set The Erberts had taken on a sound surprisingly reminiscent of Canvey Island’s Dr Feelgood, which was something of a treat, but with a more chilled out delivery while Headphones once again had cross over ‘hit’ written all over it, before Who’s Corrupting Who? (with Tom on vocals) felt somewhat akin to Ian Dury & The Blockheads.
This all was again delivered in a somewhat unassuming fashion as if what was being done was exceptionally simple when, in actuality, it was far from it as punk, surf, stoner and blues music all merged into something gloriously new, before an encore was delivered that extended into a big jam again to bring things full circle and leave me rather excited to hear their full debut EP which I believe is waiting in the wings for release.
While historical wisdom might suggest that The Doghouse isn’t the place to go for exciting new music with The Vault or St James more often these days welcoming bands playing their own stuff, this night and the run it’s part of are starting to clearly demonstrate otherwise and it’s great to see another venue giving bands and musicians this opportunity with (thus far) seemingly no restriction on style or genre which is credit to Garry Minto’s curation so, if you’re in band looking to play your own stuff somewhere, drop him a line.