There is nothing more boring than being on the motorway. London’s Katalina Kicks know this. That’s why they learn to play a cover to break the monotony. Singer Ian explains this before they play “Search And Destroy” by The Stooges, and you can feel the anger brought on by overpriced sandwiches and Costa Express from here. Elsewhere in their set KK set about things like a sort of South Eastern version of Therapy? “Mannequin”, the lead track on last year’s “Vices” record has a real, well, kick and the single “We Don’t Care” sees drummer Jase and bass man Connor bring some real power. “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” and “Forever Young” from their 2014 effort “Dirt” prove that these boys have always had the knack for writing crunchy hook filled anthems, but given that Jase chooses to herald the end of the latter by headbutting his kit, it may be they don’t take themselves too seriously either. Katalina Kicks, then: Ready to kick on.
This is Bernie Tormé’s last tour. His “Final Fling” as he’s dubbed it, around this country, one last time around the block on a valedictory lap of honour if you will.
That’s the perception, anyway. And these are the Dubliner’s last shows, but if he’s going out, then you’d best believe he’s going out at the top.
There’s a moment, in “Turn Out The Lights” here, where he literally hops across the stage in unison with bass player Sy Morton, and it isn’t hard to make the case that he’s jumping for joy. Yet, the very next song, “Flow” switches the vibe completely. All of a sudden, the guitar is conveying real, palpable emotion.
Only the best can do this – and make no mistake Bernie Tormé is one of the very best.
He’d proved that already on this year, on his brilliant new record “Shadowland” and “Come The Revolution” from it gives a neat and early insight into its charms. It is “Motor Daddy”, however, that seems to – like it does on the record – capture the zeitgeist of the thing. “Daddy needs an oil change, to keep rocking good” he offers, with mighty self-deprecation.
Given his history, with the likes of Gillan and Ozzy, BT has earned the right to sing some of the classics. He mostly doesn’t – at least not in the main set – although “No Easy Way” is superb, and he celebrates his own songs mostly, as well he might.
The band jam something special on “Stoneship” and new drummer Mik Gaffney shows just how well he’s slotted in, and there is the feeling of fun when they get to the singalong “Can’t Beat” (the thing you can’t beat is rock n roll, and you have to think they might have a point.)
There’s a race to the finish, “Trouble” drips bluesy mischief – the whole gig has an air of the mischievous in truth – Gillan’s “New Orleans” is gloriously done, and then it’s the encores.
The three songs in the encore, actually show everything that is wonderful about Tormé. “Mr Crowley” (“I haven’t played it for years ‘cos I get millions of bedroom guitarists saying I don’t play like Randy….”) and “Paranoid” are both sung by Morton, but my, how Tormé relishes them. And even better, perhaps, they are joined onstage by a fan who pledged to help “Shadowland” get made.
As the now temporary four piece reprises “….Way” to finish, a thought strikes. The joy of playing music, an evident love of your audience and a prodigious skill. If you have those things, then little else, perhaps, matters. Bernie Tormé has all three. So when this final fling is finally flung, it will be a loss. But then, shouldn’t you always leave them wanting more? Maybe. And anyway, Bernie Tormé gave a lesson in how it should be done tonight.