They enter the stage as they do everything else, with speed and purpose, taking up the first of numerous instrumental formations for the night and launch into the ‘runaway train’ rhythm of new album title track “Smoking In Heaven”. Visually the retro presentation doesn’t stop with the instruments that they chose to play as in keeping with the sound that they create, they also dress immaculately in 1940’s / 50’s styles with Kitty and Daisy’s striking looks set off by jet black hair and classic dresses and Lewis in pin striped, double breasted suit and slicked back hair perfectly suiting his cool and handsome features.
The band is completed by non other than their father, Graham Durham who, in addition to being an accomplished guitarist is also a founding member and engineer at The Exchange Mastering Studios in London and mother, Ingrid Weiss who although now plays a mean double bass may be remembered by some as a former drummer with post punk band – The Raincoats. Amongst many other genres, rock and roll features heavily in their musical upbringing and their eponymous first album was largely made up of covers that still provide some of their finest live moments including “Polly Put The Kettle On” and “Goin’ Up The Country” which brings Daisy front of stage lashing her brushes relentlessly against her snare drum, bobbing in time with the beat with her dark eyes locked intently on a point somewhere beyond the enthralled crowd. It’s also a track penned by Lewis from the same album – “Say You’ll Be Mine” that I think fans would agree is a highlight of their live performance with Kitty providing a harmonica solo that is guaranteed to leave you dizzy and gasping for breath just watching it!
There have been, however, many other musical influences at work in the Durham household over the years and the new album in particular sees a variety of styles such as country, jazz, blues and ska being poured into the melting pot and given a good stir to produce an intoxicating musical stew. The contribution of trumpet playing ska legend Eddie’Tan Tan’ Thornton on several tracks is yet another high spot and it truly is a joy to witness the way in which his lifetime of musical experience compliments the energetic drive of his youthful collaborators. With a co-coordinated precision that would put the Red Arrows to shame they alternate constantly between instruments and stage positions not just to prove that they can but also because they are genuinely talented musicians who, having no wish to do things the way of many of their contemporaries, are paying homage to a bygone musical age whilst also demonstrating that it can be developed and taken in new directions when you possess a love for it as great as these young performers do.
Review/photos by Shay Rowan