London-based two piece The Cheeky Bastards would, on the face of it, seem to be infused with the same spirit. However, the two J’s – Luza on guitar and vocals and Tur on drums –  have something a bit less primal about them than the rest of the bill. It was in evidence in their four track EP from 18 months or so back and it is right to the fore here: They have a glam sheen about them. Work like “Seine”, “On The Line” and “Loser” stomps rather than stamps, and there is something of a Therapy? Style angular buzz about “By My Side”. Even their big ballad “Troublemaker” builds into a decent crescendo and there is enough punch here in this half an hour to suggest there is more to come from them.

Ross Connor might begin with the trad of “Preachin’” and he might end with Fleetwood Mac’s “Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown) but they – like the rest of his set are given entirely his own stamp. Billing himself as “being straight outta Milton Keynes” Connor is a one-man band and who extracts every ounce of emotion out of his songs. “Ain’t No Fool” and “I Don’t Care” pop down to the scary side of the swamp for a look around, while his newer material – notably “Shotgun Teacher”, written in the aftermath of Trump’s bonkers pronouncement that the way to solve the gun crisis in the US was to arm teachers -is impressive. He’s clearly going up in the world too, given that the last time he played this town it was in “a dodgy pub in a dodgy area” as he puts it, and with new songs like “Zivania” clearly propelling him into the next level, and the “challenging times” that spawned the emotional “Down” hopefully behind, Connor is all set for the big leagues.

On YouTube, there is a video of The Bonnevilles from 2010, playing their closing song “Hardtale Lurgan Blues” in a tattoo parlour. Andrew McGibbon Jr is playing the same guitar as he does for half of tonight’s show, and aside from the fact that their suits are a little sharper, the music a little louder and McGibbon and drummer Chris McMullan are a little older, there is nothing really different about them in all that time.

The Bonnevilles, then, have always been magnificent.

About 15 minutes into tonight’s gig, McGibbon pauses for breath, he’s changed his guitar just a little while before, but already there is sweat running down it, dripping, and you do wonder if there is a band more suited to sweaty gigs in the UK than this pair.

But there is business at hand. Other than the fact that you kind of feel that The Bonnevilles would play anywhere, anytime and give it their all, they are actually here to showcase their mighty new album “Dirty Photographs” off. Beginning here with “The Good Bastards” one of its best tracks. There are plenty of others.  “Panakromatik” takes on – as many Bonnevilles songs do – some form of other life here. The title track and the one-two punch of “The Poachers Pocket” and “The Fox Runs Long” are right up there in the pantheon of their back catalogue.

That back catalogue is properly investigated too. There are dips back into their really early stuff for “Good Suits And Fighting Boots” while “The Drag” is dedicated to a  long-time supporter of the band and the brilliant “Kneel At The Altar” shows a tender side and a gift for magnificent songwriting. That’s even before “No Law In Lurgan” and without mentioning their always superb take on R.L Burnside’s “Poor Boy” – a highlight a couple of years ago and likewise here.

However, without meaning to sound glib, it actually doesn’t matter what The Bonnevilles play so much as how they play them. This is about feeling, about seeing one of the finest, most energetic and passionate bands on the planet. That has always been the way with The Bonnevilles, and what’s more, you imagine it will never change.


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