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LOS MONDO BONGO - CELEBRATING THE MUSIC OF JOE STRUMMER @ THE CAVERN, LIVERPOOL 03.03.09 BY MEL

Los Mondo Bongo – the bands name, taken from the song by Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros. They’re touring the UK & Canada to celebrate the music of Joe Strummer, and they consist of Mike Peters on vox (The Alarm), Derek Forbes, bass (Simple Minds), Pablo Cook on percussions (Mescaleros & Moby) & Smiley (Mescalero’s & Robbie Williams), and Steve Harris on lead guitar (Gary Numan’s band). To round it off we have Ray Gange (Star of ‘The Rude Boy’ Clash movie) as the DJ for all the shows. It was sure to be a great night, plus support from Linea and Mudkiss favourites The Yalla Yallas.

 

We took the train down (first big mistake as you’ll find out later) and headed for the bright lights of Mathew St, drank a beer in The Grapes pub before hand, at 8.30pm headed down the 30 steps into the cellar of the Cavern. The venue is a small intimate club, built on around 50 -75% (dependant on where you get your info from) of the original famous Cavern club site. This was the first time I’d been to the club, and I was really looking forward to seeing the three bands play tonight. We went and exchanged a few words with Ray at the DJ controls, before viewing the merchandise on offer. As Ray pointed out, three great bands all for £10, it was a bargain. The young woman on the stall told us her dad had written the book which was on sale ‘Joe Strummer & The Mescalero’s’ selling for £10, plus t shirts etc.

It was cool to see a few friends and acquaintances again, Mike from Strummercamp, Jeff Rushton, Rob Galloway & Mathew with Emma, and of course Ray G.

 

Photo: Linea

Linea - Around 9pm it kick started into action we had a taste of punk Italian style, in the form of Linea, great musicians and performance, very clash sounding with touches of ska, punk & reggae. The crowd was building up slowly but for some reason there was a big gap at the front, no one seemed to want to move too far from the back.

 

The Yalla Yallas, took to the stage shortly afterwards, consisting of Rob (Vox, Lead Guitar), Mathew Dempsey (Bass), Will Grinder (Lead Guitar) and Matt Delahunty (Drums). Interviewed on our very pages here:

 

Photo:The Yalla Yallas

A band from Leeds, with their feet firmly entrenched in punk/rock ‘n ‘roll. Rob, a tall slender framed young man, who possesses a rather energetic routine, darting on/off stage, performing bare footed, later bare chested. Flitting from an angry young man, a passionate poet, to a writhing, animalistic, performance during a cover of ‘Gay Bar’, originally sang by Electric Six. My favourite from all of the songs; it was fun, upbeat and very danceable, it's hard to tear your eyes away from Rob’s performance. He’s also a brilliant guitarist, and such a nice genuine guy, who tells us that he’s about to move back home to “mummy and daddy, as the credit crunch has hit”.

 

The rest of the band performs smoothly, with no obvious technical hitches or glitches, all professional and sounding superb. ‘Retaliation’ is a bit of an anthem song, dealt with in such an explosion of passion from Rob and the guys, also ‘Girls Are Meaner Than Boys’, a woman in the audience joined in to finish the chorus. Very entertaining and to coin Rob’s famous slogan “Rock ‘n’ Roll”!! This is what it’s all about.

Set List: Intro; ‘Big Idea’; 'Stand Up';‘What Are We Fighting For’; Love, Anger, And The Credit Card Crunch’; ‘Retaliation’; 'Let's Riot'; Girls Are Meaner Than Boy’; ‘Gay Bar’; Rock ‘N’ Roll Kid’.

Inbetween sets was some fabulous oldies spun by Ray Gange.

Photo:Los Mondo Bongo

Los Mondo Bongos seemed a little late in getting on stage, they finally emerged around 10.15pm, we had to leave at 11pm to catch the last train, so we knew we were going to miss some of this special show. The band came onto the stage with the song ‘Techno D-day’, the crowd by this time was upfront and personal. I was surprised at the turn out as I’d expected a massive crowd, however it suited us. They assaulted the crowd with their expertise, armed with a great set list they plundering into the heavy bass lines of ‘London Calling’. I struggled to contain my dancing, to video it; apart from this my silver booted feet were in permanent boogie on down mode. Mike introduced the Jimmy Cliff number ‘The Harder They Come’ as one of Joe’s favourites, and they did him proud, great reggae tune.

Photo: Set list

 

Unfortunately we had to leave after ‘Police On My Back’ and dragged our sorry asses to Lime St station, mumbling obscenities about missing the rest of the show, as my all time favourite Clash songs were being played towards the end of the set.

And the band played on, meanwhile we had to endure a packed train full of football hooligans on the train journey home. Smiling in the face of adversity!

 

What we did manage to see was certainly a fantastic tribute to Joe Strummer and his music throughout his career. Mike Peters, in great form as the front man, although it seemed pretty strange viewing him in another format. Pablo Cook; Smiley giving it a touch of authenticity, from The Mescarelos, Steve Harris, playing a mean guitar with some nifty footwork, Derek Forbes, giving it the throbbing bass lines with echoes of Paul Simonon, Smiley pounding those drums. An all round attack of nostalgia and showmanship in a great location, were else can you get this for £10?

Get your hands in your pocket and get on down to the last remaining gigs in London and Brighton this week or miss out!

Joe Strummer may be gone, but his music and soul live on. Many people were touched by Joe, his music and his philosophy and its nights like these which keep the flame burning. Joe & the Clash strode down Mathew Street over 30 years ago, playing at Eric’s; he would surely be smiling tonight.

The remainder of the shows:

UK

 

5 March 09 The Freebutt - Brighton
6 March 09 Dirty South - London

 

 

Canada


12 March 09 Saints Montreal, Quebec
13 March 09 Zaphod Beeblebrox Ottawa, Ontario
14 March 09 Townehouse Tavern Sudbury, Ontario
15 March 09 Horseshoe Tavern Downtown Toronto, Ontario
16 March 09 Casbah Club Hamilton, Ontario
17 March 09 Call The Office London, Ontario

 

'London Calling' live at The Cavern- Los Mondo Bongo

 

 

 

Review & photo's by Mel 03.03.09 (More photos here)

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