Last Great Dreamers/Them Dead Beats/Dirty Deelux - Abertillery, The Doll's House - 25th April 2015 Print E-mail
Written by Gaz E   
Saturday, 09 May 2015 03:00

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I've always marvelled at how life comes full circle, how it has that weird symmetry to it, and it was with that in mind that I headed out to meet some dandy gentlemen for the first time in a quarter of a century. The only difference between then and now being that I only had to walk the short distance to the Doll's House rather than completely up sticks in a desperate attempt to find superstardom (*for 'superstardom' read 'drunk rock chicks and shops that sold frilly shirts').

 

Warming up the crowd at the best music venue of this size in South Wales were "Newport's premier drinking band" Dirty Deelux, and Barry two-piece Them Dead Beats, the former a basic yet effective bunch of pared-down rock 'n' rollers, the latter a by-product of the in vogue garage blues duo subgenre, but one that you're sure to hear a lot more of in the near future.

 

Suitably warmed-up yet about to feel uncomfortably underdressed, the Doll's House patrons welcomed those Last Great Dreamers to the stage and I suddenly had one of those Rocky montage flashbacks, the edges blurred by cheap lager hangovers and the detritus of a couple of decades' worth of doing something completely different. Y'know how you smell something and it takes you right back to your childhood? That's how I felt as those snappily-dressed miscreants pulled on their instruments, even if I did refrain from actually smelling them.

 

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I doubted that the band once nominated for Kerrang! magazine's Best New Band award could impress me more than they did by usurping their much-loved debut album (1994's excellent 'Retrosexual') with its follow-up that had sat undiscovered for longer than the Tyrolean Iceman, last year's essential 'Crash Landing In Teenage Heaven', but they had a good go at it by undertaking an old school tour of the UK.

 

As the trek hit Abertillery Rock City, coming almost to the end of its run, drummer Ginger was back behind the kit (after former Silver Hearts/LGD drummer Steve Grainger had sat in for the first eight shows of the tour due to the auburn stick-twiddler's commitments to being an international jetsetter... or something like that) making the current Last Great Dreamers line-up three quarters of the Silver Hearts one that I had shared a few stages with in the distant past, and the prospect of reviewing a set by the perennial nice guys a helluva lot more difficult. Happily, the twelve song-strong setlist was of such a high quality that the top secret mindbox that reviewers label "Looking After People, No Matter What" was left unfingered as the band turned out a performance that even neutrals would concede was more than a little special.

 

Opening with latest single, 'Supernature Natural', Last Great Dreamers reminded not only me, but an ever-swelling contingent of clued-in music fans of just why they were so rightly lauded a couple a decades ago, and why this reunion is one of the most fascinating of recent times.

 

A quick one-two of the debut album's 'Far From Home' and the new platter's 'Hello' was all it took to wash the last twenty years away and plant those of us who got retrosexual in the mid-nineties right back where it all started.

 

With bassist Ian Scuffykid bumped up from roadie to band member, the Dreamers are tighter than ever, the rust of decades lost brushed away effortlessly, the swagger of youth replaced by a wiser cocksureness.

 

The setlist was, understandably, top heavy with songs from the sophomore release, with album opener 'No.1 Wonderboy' followed by 'Lunacy Lady' and the great 'Mary Wants', while 'Superboy Disaster' provided guitarist Slyder with the opportunity to let his backing vocals be the Barbara Dickson to the evergreen Marc Valentine's Elaine Paige.

 

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A perfect 'Only Crime' took things back to 1994 before the melancholic majesty of 'Sci-fi Louise' eased into the first single from the second record, the uber-catchy 'Ashtray Eyes', 'Last Great Dreamer' and the rousing title track of album number two closing the set proper, the band re-emerging for a delectable debut duo of 'Chrome Tonic' and 'Lady (Don't Need You)'.

 

Last Great Dreamers have bottled a bit of lightning in the way that they have made these old songs sound so vibrant in 2015. They once penned a lyric that reads, "when your world is falling down, yesterday is here" and, in the current social climate, anything that gives us all the opportunity to lose ourselves in the sweet, soothing sounds of vintage rock 'n' roll has to be celebrated.

 

They'll be back at The Doll's House in July for Slugfest 8 and I'm already counting down the seconds - you should be too.

 

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To pick up your copy of 'Crash Landing in Teenage Heaven' - CLICK HERE