I ummed and ahhhed about reviewing this one as I know a couple of the guys in the band, even played in a band with one of them, it could be a bit awks if it’s a bit of a shit show, but it wasn’t, in fact I really enjoyed it.
This sell out show doubled up as Steve’s retirement do and to my surprise, if you had a pink wristband there was a free bar, happy days. I caught the back end of the support band when I arrived and was a bit concerned that the front man only had one leg, fortunately it turned out this wasn’t the case, of their music, it sounded alright to me.
Before the main act came on Steve had a few tributes paid to him by his fellow fire fighters and union members. It was clear to see they had a lot of respect for him but if you know Steve, this would not come as a surprise. Then came the main attraction. The last time I saw Steve and the Protest Family was their final show before lockdown in March last year at The Birds Nest in Deptford, this was also the first time I saw them and was taken by how bloody good they sounded as a band, even with a bit of a shitty PA. Tonight they sounded even better.
The set was a mix of older material, new material and a golden oldie that goes back so far I even played on one the the many versions there are out there. The opener appears to be the standard opener as they started with it last time out, the a capella Hardworking. When I first heard this I thought it was a brave one to begin with, but in context with the rest of the set it works well and goes straight into Side Of The Fox, a ditty about the pointlessness of foxhunting (well that’s what I took from it without going into too much analysis). Keeping with the fox theme, the first newbie of the night Not That Fox, yes Lawrence Fox, an easy target for Steve to work on, and quite frankly a deserving target.
A couple of tunes about our glorious leader BoJo were next followed by one of the highlights of the gig, and one played last time, Air Miles Andy. Since the last time I heard this, the Duke Of York has had a bit of a rough time of it, and not even because of his overall pointlessness as a member of the Royal Family, no, as it is quire clear that he is a loathsome person who should do some jail time at his mother’s pleasure but clearly never ever will, he is a Prince after all. However I digress, if I was not mistaken the lyrics to this one had been updated.
The first real old classic, and anybody who has been on a Sunshine Coach should know this song very well, was Brisbane Road. Back in the 6 Of 8 days occasionally we would play this as an encore with Steve, but it never sounded as good as this, and with a fair few O’s fans in attendance it was no surprise that this went down well. OK, so Tamika Mkandewire dates this song a bit, but who cares, this was definitely sing along of the night, and The Orienteer is still only a quid.
Song of the night for me was up next, Supersonic. I love the backing, it works for me, don’t know if this has been recorded, but for me this sounds like it would always work better live. Before you knew it the final song came, the closer last time out as well, God Save The Queen’s Speech. Can’t argue with that as she has a bloody enormous council house and it does need mentioning. No encore was played, but no matter, perhaps next time.
I really enjoyed the show, but what took it to another level from last time was the band sounded very tight and solid. Also, a mention in dispatches for Funky Lol’s fabulous guitar sound. I loved that scratchy high sound he had and thought it worked great with the sound of the band.
So, if you like a bit of satirical song writing performed very well indeed, you could do no worse than catching SW&TPF at a venue near you, if you happen to live North and East of the river, otherwise you may have a bit of a wait. Up the O’s
Side Of The Fox
Not That Fox
Have I Got News For You
A Statue Of Boris Johnson
Air Miles Andy
No Pasaran In E17
Have A Word
Should I Be Wearing A Mask?
God Save The Queen’s Speech