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The Office, South Shields (Apr 2006)

Saturday 22nd April – “Moonage Daydreamers”

Eighth Line-Up: Lenny (Vocals), Dave Lunn (Guitar), Woody (Drums), Chris (Bass)

The group turned up fairly late for his gig, and because of the ensuing sound problems with both the drum kit and the guitar, then it was a delayed final soundcheck. But the band still managed to hit the stage on time and kicked off in with their opening number Helter Skelter by The Beatles. It was a slow start for this band getting in to their stride. I’ve seen Tubesnake play so many times before that I know their shows so very well. The group had played a cracking gig just the night before hand, and I think the group’s energies were at a low, plus the smaller than expected Office crowd wasn’t that inspiring to look at. Another factor was Dave’s guitar sound that he certainly wasn’t happy with, and if a musician doesn’t get off on his ‘own’ sound, then it can be very deflating. So it started off with a slow glimmer of fire with the first couple of tracks, but from then on the whole mood of the group picked up from song to song. It was a bit like watching somebody with a hangover recover as they have a bit more ‘hair of the dog’, and just like that Tubesnake kicked back in to full form by the time they played Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane. Len as a frontman carries a lot of the mood of the band, and as he picked up then so did the rest of them. There might not have been a big crowd in the venue for this night, but most of them came right down to the front of the room, and they were ALL there to watch the band. Len got more in to it as time went on, the audience became more responsive too, and the band began to feed off the crowd more.

The half-time interval gave Dave a chance to change his amp over, and the difference was chalk & cheese. I don’t think he had any major technical problems with it, but after 6 years of hard work I seriously think that the valves were definitely on their very last legs. Dave’s guitar sound was now so much fuller, and the meatier drive from his guitar gave the band that extra edge that they needed. The first set had progressively improved, but the second set was now just full-on! Chris on bass played some great fills & runs. Probably one of the best times that I’ve seen him perform, and he really did provide a very solid backbone for the band to move around on. Len was now more relaxed and fully animated. He pours his personality in to his performances, and that’s mainly what makes him such a great frontman. Of course that wouldn’t do the business alone unless he was decent singer, and Len is a superb vocalist. Woody on drums does a great job, and with their normal ‘vocal PA only’ set-up you don’t often get to hear him shine that brightly, but through a fully miked up PA rig then he certainly kicks through with full might. My only advice is please get some new skins for your kit as even though the snare worked great, the bass drum & toms were desperately in need of an overhaul. Dave was a happy bunny for the second set with his typical guitar sound back to normal, and his confidence & showmanship rose accordingly. His playing was fantastic, and his new found ‘fatter’ tone was the exact piece of the jigsaw that was missing in the first set. The crowd may have been smaller compared to previous Tubesnake gigs at this venue, but they certainly made up for it with enthusiasm and appreciative applause. As the night went on then both Len & Dave hammed it up for the punters, which saw both of them jumping off the stage and playing directly in front of the audience, plus plenty of shape-throwing & poses while on stage too. They got urged in to playing several encores, and if not for the time factor, then they could have quite happily played on all night!

Tubesnake put on another cracking show, and even though they started off a little subdued, they soon picked up pace on turned on the style in a huge fashion. I never get bored of watching Len as he is so highly charismatic on stage, and is a ‘performer’ in the fullest sense of that term. Dave played a corker too, but for God’s sake, invest in some new amp valves! (it will be money well spent, I promise you). Nice to see the band back at the Office again, and hopefully for their next appearance there’ll be more people in the audience to appreciate the hard work that is put in to their shows. But for those that were in the venue on these nights, then they went home very satisfied indeed.

… Colin Smoult, posted on Riffsonline website, Apr 2006