I spent the first half of my life north of the river, the land of tube trains and late night taxi rides home, in the east end of London. My Dad was born within earshot of the Bow Bells and I heard him once claim that "the Kray twins were good blokes, they only did it to their own." If the first part of that doesn't make my Dad a true Cockney then the second surely must.
So perhaps it's strange that it's taken me so long to attend a Chas & Dave concert, perhaps it's stranger still that when I did it was south of the river.
Saturday night found me at the Blackheath Halls with a very diverse crowd watching the "Rockneys" in action.
The show was broken into two rather different halves. In the first they played some of their more obscure songs, answered questions, sang happy birthday to a couple of audience members and played old style Rock and Roll songs. Chas was on an electice guitar, Dave was on an accoustic and tucked away at the back was Mick on the drums. Now maybe they felt an urge to prove that beyond their slightly humorous image they've actually got some serious musical chops and, in my opinion, prove it they did. They clearly loved the music they were playing and they played it well and with passion, which is always a joy to watch.
The questions and answers were also amusing, Mick joining up with them a very short while after they got together is why they're not known as "Chas, Dave & Mick", though there was a claim that they'd review the situation and consider renaming themselves. And did you know that Chas used to play the violin in the band? One night in the middle of a solo the neck of his violin broke off and he took it as a sign to call it quits on that front.
And then on to the second half in which Chas moved to a keyboard and the "favourites" came out. At this the audience really came alive with people dancing up in front of the stage and up the back, they even had a stage invasion or two.
So it was almost like two gigs in one. An intimate performance of some great songs and then a party like show of songs you remember from years ago. The second half was what I expected the show to be like, the first half was what really impressed me though.
They're on tour again next year (the dates are here) though as of today there's no repeat showing in Blackheath. However chatting to some of the crew did reveal that the evening was a sell out, so hopefully they'll be back there. I'd certainly like to see them again and it would be all the better if it were local.
Oh and to the person who wrongly claimed a signed T-Shirt that they hadn't paid for, stealing from Chas & Dave? Shame on you! Shame!