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Wednesday, 29 July 2015
THE SONICS – THE INSTITUTE, BIRMINGHAM. 28th JULY 2015
You would think that when you hit your early seventies life would be full of more leisurely activities; grandkids, tending the garden, Caribbean cruises etc. etc. etc………..Not these guys!!!! The Sonics are back with a new album (the first one for nearly 50 years) and are hitting the road hard, playing shows and festivals all over America and Europe throughout 2015. Along with early 60s contemporaries like the Kingsmen, the Wailers, the Dynamics, the Regents, and Paul Revere & the Raiders they helped set the template that would influence and inspire future generations of Garage, Punk and heavy Rock bands and the first two Sonics albums are now considered to be Garage Punk classics. With three members of the band from the classic line-up that recorded the seminal Here Are The Sonics back in 1965, guitarist Larry Parypa, sax player Rob Lind and Jerry Roslie on keyboards are joined by Freddie Dennis on bass and former Lita Ford/Dick Dale drummer Dusty Watson, The Sonics are still playing primal Garage Rock that is louder, harder and faster than anything by Garage/Punk bands half their age.
One of the uncertainties of going to see any “classic” band from the 60s/70s is that they may be shot to bits and sound shit……….there are no such worries with The Sonics as they still sound great. Sharing lead vocals, Roslie and Dennis are in good voice (Jerry Roslie still yelps and screams like a sexually frustrated teenager), Lind blows a mean sax and an even meaner mouth harp while Parypa coaxes a beautiful ugly noise from his guitar. Driving this forward at maximum velocity is the best drummer you have never heard of before……Dusty Watson was epic. From the opening bars of ‘Cinderella’ there is no let up from a barrage of the finest classic Garage Rock/R&B you are likely to ever hear………..with a set list taken mainly from the Here Are The Sonics and Boom albums, the Sonics mid 60s repertoire of original tunes and covers have set the standard for any aspiring Garage/Punk band ever since. You really can’t go wrong with a set that includes ‘Have Love Will Travel’, ‘Money’, ‘You’ve Got Your Head On Backwards’, ‘Boss Hoss’ and a ferocious ‘You Keep A Knocking’. The songs from the new album are also very good………..the formula has not been messed with and the old maxim “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” has been fully observed, they fit seamlessly into the set and stand up well against the classic tunes with ‘Bad Betty, their cover of The Kinks ‘The Hard Way’ and a reworking of the classic ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’ (once covered by The Chocolate Watch Band) all exceptional. There was a lot of love in the room for The Sonics and they responded by playing one of the best shows we have seen for quite a while…...these guys are totally loving what they do. The band tear through ‘Louie Louie’ before finishing with ‘Psycho’ saving ‘Strychnine’ and ‘The Witch’ for the encore……..three tunes that any mid 60s band would have killed for.
The Sonics are back……………still as cool as fuck, still playing harder, faster, louder and still one of the most important bands from the 60s……the tag “legend” is used far too much nowadays but this band are the real deal. If you get the chance, go see them live…….you really don’t know how long are gonna be back for.