Clash man takes axe to Hammersmith stage

The Good, The Bad & The Queen say farewell to Palais in style

The Good The Bad The Queen
The Clash’s bassist Paul Simonon took an axe to the stage at Hammersmith Palais tonight (March 31) as his new band The Good, The Bad & The Queen played a special farewell gig for the venue.

The west London music hall - home of the Shockwaves NME Awards for the last five years - is set to close tomorrow (April 1) after which it will be demolished to make way for flats, and the bassist was playing a goodbye show with the Damon Albarn-fronted group.

Simonon told NME.COM earlier this week he planned to hack away a bit of the stage as a souvenir, and made good on his promise producing a small axe towards the end of The Good, The Bad & The Queen’s set.

“Before I go I think I’ve done enough to deserve a piece of the stage,” explained Simonon, whose previous band The Clash transported the venue to legendary status after they immortalised it in the 1978 song ’(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’.

His frontman Albarn, who had never played the hall before but had attended many gigs there, also paid tribute to the Hammersmith Palais’ legacy, explaining: “It’s a real shame they’re knocking this place down. It used to be a tea-dance hall, where people would come on their breaks, drink tea and have a dance, that sounds very sophisticated. There is no reason why they should pull it down.”

However his band, watched by the likes of Hard-Fi, Blur drummer Dave Rowntree and actor Jude Law, sent the place off in style.

Playing in front of two murals by Simonon depicting west London scenes, the band were joined by a string quartet – all wearing top hats to match Albarn’s bespoke topper – as they ran through their album ’The Good, The Bad And The Queen’ in order, before the band played a two-song encore which saw them joined by guest percussionists and a rapper.

This included ’Doghouse’, a song from the aborted record Albarn made in Nigeria last year, but which proved the catalyst for his current band.

The Good, The Bad & The Queen played:

’History Song’
’80s Life’
‘Northern Whale’
‘Kingdom Of Doom’
‘Herculean’
‘Behind The Sun’
‘The Bunting Song’
‘Nature Springs’
‘Soldier’s Tale’
‘Three Changes’
‘Green Fields’
‘The Good, The Bad And The Queen’
‘Doghouse’
‘Mr Whippy’


Earlier the evening had been kicked off by The Good, The Bad & The Queen’s drummer, Tony Allen, whose other band The Tony Allen Orchestra came from Paris to play the show.

With documentary maker and collaborator with The Clash Don Letts DJing between sets, poet John Cooper Clarke also delivered a spoken word performance, reciting the likes of ’Hire Car’ and his classic ’Beasley Street’ plus an updated, gentrified version entitled ’Beasley Boulevard’.

The Hammersmith Palais is now set to host is last ever scheduled gig, a show from The Fall, which was booked in before the venue’s fate was announced tomorrow (April 1). See NME.COM for a full report from the venue’s last ever night.

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