London W1 100 Club

Once they return, it suddenly strikes you that the Day-Glo harmony pop of old [a]Dodgy[/a] faves and [B]Dave Bassey[/B]'s spit-and-sawdust tones are perhaps not the perfect aesthetic combination...

Hey kids! Fed up with pretty boys and trendily dressed indie posers clogging up the charts? Fed up with fashion, stultified by style? Longing for something a bit more real?

Introducing the ultimate anti-boy band. The blokemost bloke band the world has ever seen. Dodgy-looking, Dodgily dressed, and coming to a town near you. Yes indeed, lock up your daughters, it's the all-new Dodgy. And this time it's going to get ugly.

The Dodgy you knew before were a suitably sunnily-disposed, beaming bunch of chirpy pop chappies. Not any more. Older, wiser, bigger and now with added stubble, the new Dodgy are born-again bar-room blues ogres. And the star of this new show is Dodgy's new lead singer Dave Bassey. You've seen skunk rock, you've seen pub rock, but this man must be the embodiment of slob rock. Looking like Andrew Strong from The Commitments plus pies, pints and, by the look of it, pyjamas, imagine Dr Feelgood feeling really, really bad.

But there's nothing wrong with that. It fits perfectly with the rich Rod Stewart rasp of his voice, immediately impressive when the band, bloke quotient further augmented by two sleeperblokes on brass and keyboards, tear through 'In A Room'.

And then the curse of Dodgy strikes again. Just as they're showcasing the anthemic new stomper 'Back Into Your Life', the sound goes dead, and our beefy heroes are forced offstage on the precipice of a triumphant comeback.

Once they return, it suddenly strikes you that the Day-Glo harmony pop of old Dodgy faves and Dave Bassey's spit-and-sawdust tones are perhaps not the perfect aesthetic combination. Especially since you detect a tendency on the part of the new boy to over-sing, in a soul wailing sty-ee-addi-addi-oh-yle, eager to show us the full range of his pipes.

He's better suited to the new stuff, grittier R&B pop and Faces-esque trad rock, but none of the new songs quite gets in your head tonight. Compared with the ever-ringing choruses of their greatest hits, it sounds like a band still working out where they want to go next. To the health farm, possibly? Fat chance.

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