For a supposedly ‘failed’ supergroup, Sharks drew a damn good crowd to the legendary 100 Club in Wednesday night. They also proceeded to play a set full of twists and real punch.
Of course the sad demise of original founder Andy Fraser (bass player with Free) meant changes in the lineup and Toshi Ogawa (who was in the short lived King Mob) plays bass in his stead along with new drummer Paul Jones (to quote Steve Parsons “Paul fucking Jones ladies and gentlemen”) once of the Sex Pistols and The Professionals also playing alongside original members Chris Spedding, Steve Parsons (Snips) and Nicky Judd.
Not having heard the new album I wasn’t sure what the new material would be like but I couldn’t imagine that the band would suddenly have become ‘average’ and they hadn’t. From the opening number ‘Shadow Knows’, all moody and to the anthemic closer ‘Ya Ya Pop’ they were tight, hard and rocky.
Looking at Snips without his aviator shades, he looks like a mischievous elf but put him onstage with his impenetrable shades on and he suddenly becomes the confident and all-encompassing front man, all eyes traversing to him. Add to that his vocals, strong and confident with a slight sneer – suddenly he is the vocalist every rock band dreams of.
Behind him is Chris Spedding – almost no stage presence but playing guitar with incredible skill and variety, Spedding plays fewer notes and riffs than almost any other guitarist but everything is just what the song needs and no more. Watching him closely, every now and again he seemed to have a little smile on his face as he tried a new run or riff but always perfectly within the song.
Paul Cook surprised me – he is a much better drummer than I had given him credit for – not flashy, not riding the cymbals, almost missed – and driving the songs along perfectly.
The audience was with the band from the first notes to the last and numbers like ‘One Last Thrill’ and ‘Killer On The New Tube’ had them up and dancing throughout. Encore ‘Music Breakout’ saw actual pogoing!
Sharks are, in many ways, the quintessential rock band, playing with real bnd togetherness and writing songs that really work onstage as well as on record. Quite honestly, if you have a chance to see them and don’t take it you really shouldn’t call yourself a rock fan.
One of the best nights at the 100 Club for a while, can’t wait for the next time.