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Snooker Club, Durham City (Jun 2001)

Saturday 16th June

Seventh Line-Up: Lenny (Vocals), Dave Lunn (Guitar), Woody (Drums), Chris (Bass), Stephen Wakefield ‘Waka’ (Guitar)

Together for over 9 years, now in their seventh incarnation, Tubesnake launch themselves into another summer of sun-soaked Doors, Bowie and Stones covers showing off the prowess and showmanship of vocalist and founder member Len.

With two guys recently leaving the band, guitar man Steve (Waka) has just stepped in and certainly looked as if he felt right at home on the dancer-packed stage at Durham City’s Snooker and Social Club on Saturday, June 16th. A mouthful of a venue, perhaps, but owner Eddie not only has the best snooker club this side of the Honka Ponka but by many a band’s admission also the best live venue not only in Durham but possibly the surrounding area.

The band consist of new man Steve (Steve’s main claim to fame is the fact that his uncle jammed with a rather popular 60s combo which went by the name of The Beatles. Steve was recently in a band that does odd gigs that he was reticent to mention but Val squeezed it out of him, Transformer); Chris on bass (the Roll Band); Woody on drums, vocalist Len and last but certainly not least, Dave on guitar.

The band was on the crest of a musical wave when Riffs caught them nearly three years ago at the Red Lion in Chester le Street. It surely is the most difficult thing for Riffs to review the lads again without comparing their performance to the previous spectacular show. Different venues and, of course, different equipment would all have conspired to make the sound incomparable but like a lot of bands, it is no good just focusing on the sound. People go to see a band for a performance, to be entertained. And one thing about Tubesnake, they are entertaining. Len has charisma and style when strutting his stuff on the stage that has to be seen to be appreciated. A front man to be proud of he can spellbind an audience with what seems like little or no effort. But of course talent is within when born, never learnt or taught.

The band opened with Born to be Wild with a brash, attacking sound and settled down easily into Light My Fire. The Stones Jumpin’ Jack Flash followed and the band by this time had found their level and confidence and strode boldly into REM’s Man on the Moon. People are Strange from The Lost Boys film was in there, along with T Rex’s Children of the Revolution. Back to the Sixties with We Gotta Get out of This Place.

One thing I remember from seeing them previously was the superb long version of Sweet Jane which, thankfully, is now back in the set. It was during this track that Dave’s guitar lead went flying thanks to some deft footwork from Len, which led to much facial machinations from Dave.

The Stones Sympathy for the Devil and a superb intro to Gimme Shelter were both very memorable to me and Val and now and then Tubesnake were truly awesome. But keeping up that level of quality is very difficult; but the band has that special something that is indefinable; a must-see something.

Some of the medleys on the night included many many songs and just when you thought you had recognised one — they had slipped into the next!!! Cream’s White Room was a dream.

Dave had to have the last word: “Playing in Tubesnake is like sex — it only gets boring if you let it!”

… Val, posted on Riffsonline website, Jun 2001

Seventh Line-Up at Durham Snooker Club, 2001: Len, Chris, Waka, Woody, Dave