The Bullingdon Arms was water cannoned with Americana on Friday night and was left sopping wet. Gracing the stage with romanticised lyrical themes inapplicable to life in Britain were the mighty Danny And The Champions Of The World, a band who do this with such ease and style that the listener cares not, and upcoming rockers Billy Vincent, who, despite their unfortunate name, gave the headliners a damn good run for their money.
Taking the stage at about eightish, the opening five piece played an excellently concise set ranging from Flogging Molly-esque Celtic rouseathons to 70’s Rolling Stones-style rock n roll. Complete with a Jack Daniels T Shirt wearing bassist, the band played songs which maintained a level of unashamed “highway rock” excellence throughout; the joint frontmen and songwriters clearly have a fine notion of what makes a good tune and the set was a perfect length for them; with each song hitting the mark with a buoyant and affecting potency.
However, it was “The Champs” that the uber-middle aged audience had come to see, and they weren’t disappointed, even if I was. Bopping energetically throughout, the crowd were treated to a set that, despite a few utterly mesmerising gems such as opener ‘Ghosts In The Wire’, taxed my attention to a similarly toddlerish extent that the opener grabbed it. The reputable outfit indulged far too frequently in the backslapping, fretwanking, jamathons of which a band of their calibre needn’t, nay, mustn’t do, and the set suffered hugely as a result. Songs such as ‘The Colonel And The King’, a tune that concerns Elvis and Colonel Tom Parker, soon descended into mammoth and directionless travesties which had to be seen to be believed, and there were plenty more where that came from; befouling their set with vast wads of self indulgence and self importance.
When the set shone, however, it did so dazzlingly. Acoustic classic ‘Henry The Van’ and Springsteen-esque barnstormer ‘Every Beat Of My Heart’ were exemplary to how songs of this genre should be written and performed; there was a palpable chemistry and familiarity between the band members that was maintained throughout, even in the aforementioned ‘wads’.
Perhaps it is my underdeveloped and juvenile attention span that is the main culprit here, but for me the set was one of metaphorical foot tapping; and I don’t mean in the way the gents watching were, more like on Sonic 2 when you don’t press anything for ages.
Photography by Harry Lawlor.