The Kinked + Al Kilvington & Fireball

Bull Hotel Horncastle - Friday 9th April 2004

The latest live music night at the Bull Hotel in Horncastle featured not one but two acclaimed acts. The evening opened though with a short but impressive exhibition of dancing by Nicola, the landlady's daughter who is a professional dancer.

Then dressed in sharp grey suits, The Kinked launched into 'Louie, Louie', a song that has featured in many band's repertoires over the years, including The Kingsmen, whose version was a major influence on the Kinks sound in their early years. It featured on an early Kinks EP and The Kinked's rendition gave the audience an immediate taste of how good they are at recreating the sounds of the influential Kinks. They followed this with 'Stop Your Sobbing' another Kinks song.

The original Kinks emerged on the London music scene in the swinging 60's, and had string of hits from the 64 to the early 70's. Whilst seemingly The Kinks do not feature as the favourite band with any in the Horncastle audience, as frontman and Kinks enthusiast Pete Johnson soon discovered, their timeless music is well loved by many, and certainly everyone seemed familiar with their songs. The Kinks themselves followed in the wake of bands such as The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, and were the quintessential English band.

Though The Kinks have a large repertoire of excellent songs, The Kinked concentrated on covers by other groups of the era during their first set. These encompassed songs by The Beatles, including the less well known 'You Can't Do That', 'Flowers In The Rain' a song by The Move that rarely features in covers bands' repertoires, Rolling Stones and The Who. The Who numbers featuring some impressive drum work from Justin Davidson. They ended their first set with The Doors song 'Light My Fire'.

The middle section of the evening featured a set by Al Kilvington and Fireball. Al, who plays keyboards rock'n'roll / barrelhouse style is a true entertainer, alongside him Ronnie 'Guitar' Blythe who has played with many rock'n'roll acts over the years traded guitar licks with the ebullient keyboard player. Behind them two members of The Kinked, Pete Johnson (now on bass) and drummer Justin Davidson provided a solid rhythm section. There are limited opportunities to see keyboard players of this genre in action locally, in recent years visually perhaps only Steve 'Big Man' Clayton and the irrepressible Mike Sanchez are on a par with Kilvington. Tearing through 'Little Queenie' and 'I Can Help' fingers flashing over the ivories, the showman side of his playing quickly emerged, playing with his feet and standing up. He slowed things down a little with a country flavoured song. Initially bedecked in a blue drape jacket trimmed with 'leopard skin', this was soon discarded as Al warmed up on stage. A large proportion of Fireball's material comes from Jerry Lee Lewis's work, though songs such as 'Blueberry Hill' by Fats Domino, the old blues standard 'My Babe' and 'Take These Chains From My Heart' from Ray Charles' repertoire also featured in their performance. Classics from Jerry Lee Lewis's repertoire like 'Whole Lotta Shakin', 'High School Confidential' and 'High Heeled Sneakers' were included and of course 'Great Balls Of Fire' which the band closed with. With such a great finale the audience were a little spellbound, whilst wanting more, how do you follow such a classic? The encore of 'Goodnight Irene' was the appropriate and fitting climax to a great set.

The live music was still not over with The Kinked returning now attired in striking red hunting jackets, similar to those worn on many occasions by The Kinks in the 60's. The Kinked devoted the whole of the second set to Kinks classics. Frontman Pete Johnson bears a striking resemblance to Ray Davies and his vocals too are very similar, especially noticeable on 'Dedicated Follower Of Fashion'. Alongside guitarist Mike Preston provides vocal harmonies, and Mark English (keyboards) and Keith Gray (bass) complete The Kinked's line up. The Kinks' first two hits provided the opening and closing songs of the set, starting with 'All Of The Day and All Of The Night' and closing with 'You Really Got Me'. In between The Kinked took the audience on a whistle stop history of The Kinks, 70's hits 'Lola' and 'Apeman' and 80's chart entry 'Come Dancing', and back to the 60's, 'David Watts' showing how The Kinks influenced a new generation on bands when The Jam took the song into the charts in 1978. These were featured alongside the 60's classics such as 'Sunny Afternoon' and 'Waterloo Sunset'. This excellent double bill gave the Horncastle audience around two and half hours of great musical entertainment. Debby and Steve at The Bull are bringing some of the top tribute acts to Horncastle over the coming months, including the Rollin Stoned in September. The next date is with the 70's, on Friday 30th April when TooRex (formerly The Electric Warriors), bring the sounds of T-Rex to the town.