Clive Lung and I started promoting Endless Summer's surf nights at The Prince Albert, Brighton's most rock'n'roll pub, around 18 months ago, when we brought our good friends The Razorblades from Wiesbaden in Germany, to play with Clive's band, The Surfin' Lungs and my band, Los Fantasticos. Since then we have also promoted shows featuring Surfer Joe and his Boss Combo, from Livorno in Italy, Ottowa's very splendid The Reverb Syndicate and local instrumentalists The Space Agency and The Squadron Leaders.
For the last show (the launch for Los Fantasticos' fourth album, The Devil Went Down to George Street, in September 2012) we were pretty thrilled to add local comedian Joe McCarthy to the Endless Summer Team, as our really quite excellent compere and since then we've brought Garry Robson, the brains behind Radio Reverb's Dusty Groove Jukebox Show onboard to add his dj'ing and visual trickery to the equation.
What we've always wanted to do, though, was to put on an Endless Summer night that featured not only the harmonising of the Lungs, but the the full trio of Brighton instrumental surf bands, Los Fantasticos, The Space Agency and The Squadron Leaders, and last Saturday we finally achieved that, with the first edition of what we hope will become an annual event; Endless Christmas!
Shoehorning four bands into a little over three hours, not to mention fitting all their gear onto the Albert's stage, presented something of a logistical challenge, but somehow we managed it and, at. 8:15 on the dot, Joe hollered the evening into life and The Squadron Leaders took to the stage. By a little after 11:30 a packed crowd had been treated to a great night's entertainment as the Lungs closed the night.
Of course, for some, three instrumental bands in a row is pretty hard to take (while for others it's nowhere near enough), but these three are all pretty different, as you may know. In the case of The Squadron Leaders, Paul anchors the rhythm section, drumming along to pre-recorded bass parts, while the spotlight is split pretty evenly between Kerry's honking sax and Steve's guitar, while the liberal use of sampled voices, both between and during songs always adds to the enjoyment. Oh, and I forgot to mention the comedy moustaches! Paul even managed to keep his on for the whole set.
I'm a big fan of The Space Agency and the way that Hiromi's bass and Simon's guitar intertwine so fluidly can be quite spell-binding at times and their set at Endless Summer was filled with those moments. Apparently they wanted to play a somewhat different set then they've been playing of late and Simon's electric sitar on opener Bombay Potatoes had us guitarists in the audience drooling. Made me pretty hungry too.
What people often seem to like about Los Fantasticos is the contrast in styles between my guitar playing and Tim's, while one punter commented to me that he hadn't seen a drummer enjoying himself as much as Abe for a long time. I must remember to turn around and watch him more. On top of all this, we made a lot fewer mistakes than is sometimes the case, so that was nice.
It's difficult to know what to say about The Surfin' Lungs that's not already been said. They've been playing this stuff, positioned, as someone once said, at the exact midpoint between The Beach Boys and The Ramones, for over thirty years now and, while I'm sure they look older than they once did, they still sound great and Chris, Clive, Steve and Ray had the crowd dancing with gay abandon as they brought a great night to its close.
I can hardly wait for next December!