Birmingham cult skiffle cow-punk band Terry & Gerry returned to the North East tonight for a show that really didn’t disappoint – especially in terms of entertainment value.
Opener Charlie Thomas’ intuitive use of loop pedals and echoing vocals made it feel like he had the support of a backing band throughout his dark, vintage, alternative American-influenced set. An excellent storyteller in his own right, track ‘3.55’ was a personal highlight and told the true tale of a Teesside gangster from a bygone era – a story the audience listened to intently.
Now forget about the storytelling, as Howlin’ Ric & The Rocketeers performed a foot-stomping set that was less about the lyrical content of their tracks (many of them romantic love songs) and more about their distinctive Americana-blues sound. Taking American traditions and blending them with their own high-octane rock ‘n’ roll sound, frontman Howlin’ Ric takes this three-piece to a different level with his sublime vocal range – simply stunning.
Now it was time for the headliners, Terry & Gerry.
“Thank you for coming to the best club in Middlesbrough” announces Gerry as the band, avidly backed by John Peel in their heyday, played a vibrant setting filled with energy and passion.
Playing a string of politically humorous tracks, including my personal highlight ‘Butter on the Bread’ which referred to the miners’ strike of 1984, the band thrived on audience participation and at every given moment tried to involved the audience in some way – chicken dances, train dances, sing-a-longs, and even a Mexican wave were all performed by the audience throughout their set.
In terms of sheer entertainment value, Terry & Gerry hit the high-note and I certainly hope they’ll be back in the North East in 2019 – I’ll even practice by chicken dance.