Monday, 31 October 2011


The reformed Sham 69 (1977-79 line up) far exceeded my - admittedly low - expectations on Saturday by turning in a fiery set. I’ve never taken their cartoonish yobbery very seriously, always considered them a bit of a comedy band, but they set about themselves with an admirable lack of cabaret and bashed out a surprisingly credible show.

A lean, mean, mop-headed Jimmy Pursey remains a captivating ringleader, directing the overweight, follically-challenged crowd at will, and Dave Parsons, Dave Tregunna and Mark Cain played with such bristling intensity it altered my opinion of the group. Songs I’d previously thought weak sounded stronger, full of energy, and sat comfortably alongside the boisterous anthems. If this had been a new band with these songs they’d have rave reviews splattered everywhere. The Vaccines should’ve been taking notes.

Reformed acts can do one of three things with their reputation: tarnish it, preserve it, enhance it. Few manage that last one. Sham did for me. Comedy? Cabaret? The Cockney Kids Are Innocent.

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