Off the beaten media hack track is a place called New Cross, at the end of the East London Line, in which are several cider pools. One of these is very large and is called The Venue, another used to host live bands but now doesn’t and is called The Amersham Arms. Still another looks like rather a new addition – and is called The Paradise Bar.
It is here, in a place with no lime slices for your G&T (scandalous), that we are promised three bands no-one apart from immediate family and friends have heard of. This evening, however, it seems that Mr Soundman wants his mates to play as well, so suddenly there are four. We could have done with just two – the first band, fronted by a petite lady with a huge voice, had at least one convulted name which I now can’t remember. They were rather jazzy and the crowd seemed pleased by them; they were undoubtedly pleased to play first and not suffer the indignity inflicted on Passenger Smith, our headliners, who were shoved back to 12:30 as a result of Mr Soundman’s actions.
The intervening two acts were utterly forgettable noises engendered by guitars being played badly and we ignored them. Passenger Smith, bizarrely all hailing from my home village, in which I never knew anything interesting happened, are a drummer (debuting this evening), a bassist and a guitarist/singer called Chris who has a ring through his left eyebrow. A more fullsome lineup would have perhaps provided more interest, but essentially we had one guy and a rhythm section to keep us occupied for around an hour, and what with the start time we were all weary before they even picked up their instruments. A pity.
That said, the songs we were offered had more hooks than a fishing boat and the guitar was not as annoying as it might have been. Stage presence was rather lacking; again, considering, that was hardly surprising. We got to bop about to some of the faster numbers and the vocals were clear. For a band that has played The Barfly club and the Bull & Gate, this venue should have offered more.
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Passenger Smith @ Paradise Bar11 November 2000
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@ Paradise Bar, London, 11 November 2000