Turning up at London’s Sebright arms, I’m here for the second time in two nights and on this occasion, it’s for a chance to see Streets of Laredo. Prior to these two night the last time I was her was for UFQ, a great night out as it happened, although I very nearly conspired to miss my last train home. Although the venues isn’t anywhere near as far from the station as my mind is telling me, on this occasion, it’s the getting there not the getting back that proves an issue, as the train service goes into one of its all to regular meltdowns. I’m left shivering on a platform for well over an hour before I can go anywhere and it gets right to the point of phone in hand for that, “I’m giving up,” phone call, when glory be a train trundles in, and more to the point out again.
The journey allows only a partial thawing, so at the other end, I’m off like a whippet to the venue, as much to get the blood flowing as anything. On arrival a couple of good ales start to unpick the damage done, although there isn’t much time before the band are on. I’ve written before about there being some kind of inverse ratio between the pain of the journey and the joy of the gig. The harder it is to get there, somehow the better the show seems to be. Maybe it’s the relief factor, but I don’t think so as I’m thinking about very different venues and acts, but Streets Of Laredo prove to be the clinching proof of my wild theory and are even better than expected.
I will say, however, that I can’t see a lot of them, just the heads and shoulders, with occasional sight of a guitar, or drum sticks pounding out their tribal beats. The reason is that the room is full, almost to bursting and whilst a lot of New Zealanders are in the crowd, it isn’t exclusively so.
I can see head and shoulders though and can make out that not only is the venue packed, but so is the stage, with the younger of the two brothers Dan Gibson on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, standing centre stage. He’s flanked by the family part of the band with Dave Gibson on drums and vocals and Dave’s wife, Sarahjane Gibson on percussion and vocals to right and left as I look at the stage. Behind Dan are Cameron Deyell on electric guitar and vocals and Sean McMahon on bass guitar and vocals, with Andrew McGovern on keys, trumpet, percussion and vocals squeezing in beside the older Gibson brother.
You can see form that line up that they put a lot of emphasis on both the chorus of voices, but also the rhythmic thwack. I have to say though, that given the potential for competing frequency range, the sound is excellent and the guy manning the desk does a tippy-top job, getting all of the excitement, without it ever tipping over into tub-thumping. The enthusiasm of the crowd add to the atmosphere too and the place is absolutely rocking.
Most of their set rightly is plucked straight from Volume I & II, so I’m on familiar territory as we work our way through Slow Train and Laredo into Lonsdale Line. Need A Little Help delivers a Calexico moment as the trumpet kicks in, although you could argue there are other moments when the comparison isn’t a bad one. For me though Homeless is a stormer, taking us into Lee Hazelwood territory, as Sarahjane channels her inner Nancy Sinatra.
I’m also really happy to say that three new songs are excellent and hint that the band are really pushing on, Diamonds, Caught The Fire and Red Eyes all have a much spacier quality and I can’t wait to hear the new material in it’s recorded form, with a chance to rewind and play it through again, as there are some more terrific tunes to come on the evidence of this trio. The set concludes with crowd pleasing versions of Girlfriend and the album’s clincher and another personal favourite, I’m Living.
On my way out, I manage to grab a quick word with all three Gibsons on route, who are grateful for the coverage FRUK have given them. It seems we were ahead of the curve again, introducing them a couple of years ago, but then it’s all for nights like these, special and memorable and the great album that Volume I & II is. And the train even gets me home in tidy order, as I trundle along replaying the gig in my head.
Review by: Simon Holland
Exclusive Bedroom Demo
We have a great premiere from Streets of Laredo with an original bedroom demo Need a Little Help. Listen below: