London Shepherd's Bush Empire

[B]Harry Connick Jr[/B]. [B]The Manhattan Transfer[/B]. [B]Cherry Poppin' Daddies[/B]. Satan and all his dark angels...

London Shepherd's Bush Empire

Harry Connick Jr. The Manhattan Transfer. Cherry Poppin' Daddies. Satan and all his dark angels. These are just some of the names that might spring to mind when you hear of the 'swing' revival currently sweeping the States. And so it is with a keen sense of suspicion that we greet former Stray Cat Brian Setzer and his reinvention as a big-band crooner. But don't be too harsh on the old boy. For a start, Mr Setzer's custard quiff will quiver with rage at the word 'swing'. It's 'rock'n'roll', he insists.

Which may be why he also insists on makin g his undeniably impressive guitar skills the overbearing, all-encompassing focal point of the show, outshining even his star-spangled jacket and a choreographed, swaying, 16-piece band. Old Brian is indeed a fine crooner, and when the double bass and skull-cracking snare give the blaring horns a rocket up the arse, there's nothing kitsch, retro or ironic about it, let alone easy-listening. But then over-manic guitar soloing gets to the point where you're wondering whether progressive swing metal could catch on as a new genre.

Who cares? Because when he plays old Stray Cat numbers like 'Rock This Town' and 'Rumble In Brighton', and sideburn-shaking new numbers like 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', you remember that this is a performer with the balls to eat Frank Sinatra for breakfast and spit him out all over the stage.

'Swing' on that, suckers.

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