Review of The Lost Boys

First published in The Hull Daily Mail in April: Here

All photos by Andy Buckton

We’ll get the hyperbole out the way first, everyone who attended this gig has contacted me, and frankly, there were superlatives in there that I didn’t know even existed, some of them just plain unprintable. And in the age of internet complainants and anonymous keyboard warriors, this is almost unprecedented. To say that booking The Lost Boys was an unqualified success would do them a massive disservice. The glass dome in The Polar Bear would have been blown into the night sky had it not been held in place in anticipation.

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I do a monthly night called Freak Scene at The Polar Bear, and, as much as it’s successful, the bulk of the punters saunter in after the pubs on Princes Avenue chuck them out, so myself and Dave Courtney, the landlord, hatched a hardly revolutionary plan to fill the bar up and give the customers something a bit above and beyond your generic covers band.

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There’s an abundance of talent in this city, as evidenced by the 2017 albatross, and, after a couple of failed attempts to book local bands with big followings, I finally got a ‘yes’ from Tom Stratton, from Street Urchin, purveyors of fine poetic lyricism, melded with funk-rock rhythms and punk attitude. But his drummer couldn’t do it. Exasperated, I tagged everyone I knew in bands on Facebook, looking for a drummer. First reply was from Grant Dobbs, powerhouse sticksman from The Paddingtons, and currently Fire (The Unstoppable Force) one of the most exciting bands in the city. Next up was Lloyd Dobbs, Grant’s brother, formerly of the Padds, currently of Hillbilly Troupe, then Marv Hines, a third Paddington. So within five minutes, we had 3/5 of one of the biggest bands to come out of Hull in the last 20 years. And all I needed was a drummer for Tom.

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Next Up, Mick Murphy, of punk Stalwarts The Cotton Gussets and The Hillbilly Troupe threw his hat in, as did flamboyant Fire (TUF)) singer and virtuoso guitarist respectively, Alfie Appleton and Micky Fegz, and we had a Hull supergroup on our hands, and the excitement was palpable. The quality on show here was incredible and they had a week to work out an 80s set as that was the theme of the night that month.

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And boy, did they deliver. The way they threw themselves into the whole 80s vibe, with the costumes, the riffs, the poses and the note-perfect renditions of perfectly-chosen 80s masterpieces, was incredible.

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They kicked off with Just Like Heaven by The Cure, one of my favourite songs, and it was beautiful; the juxtaposition between Lloyd’s high Robert Smith-like yelp and Tom’s lower register worked perfectly, Marv’s synth stabs completing the magic. They followed with standards from Pixies, REM, The Clash, Billy Idol, Cyndi Lauper, Euryhmics, and, my personal highlight, the rendition of Pretty In Pink by The Psychedelic Furs, a rousing vocal performance from Mick Murphy, elevating it into the realms of  one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments, close your eyes, and it was Richard Butler backed by The Clash. Perfection. And the audience lapped up every minute as feverishly as I imagine rabid One Direction fans reserve for their idols. The set was closed in glorious fashion with Paradise City by G’n’R,; a perfect end to a set brimming with exemplary moments. Emulating Slash is an unenviable task, but Micky Fegz was more than up to the task in hand.

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Then us DJs kept the party going until 2am, I just remember thinking ‘How am I going to follow THIS?’, but luckily the revellers were more than up for the task of partying until the dreaded ‘last-orders-bell. A truly tremendous occasion.

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The idea now for Freak Scene is to have a cast of revolving local players. There’s so much musical talent in Hull, and I want to throw the doors wide open to anyone who wants to participate in similar happenings.

The Lost Boys will be back at some point in the near future, and they’ll be an almost impossible act to follow, but the invitation is open to any hip young gunslingers who want to give it a bash.

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Freak Scene is usually the last Saturday of each month at The Polar Bear and plays a mixture of indie, rap, soul, synth-pop, new-wave, punk, post-punk, disco, house, shoegaze, alt-80s and beyond.

Mike Robbo

first published in the HDM: http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/Lost-Boys-way/story-29184947-detail/story.html

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