Impeccably attired and looking like he’s just stepped off the set of a Tarantino movie Adrian Stranik gets the evening off to a lively start with his unique take on rockabilly. Usually, Adrian is guitarist and vocalist for musical hoodlums The Broadway Twisters but tonight finds Adrian performing solo yet, armed with just an acoustic guitar, his modus operandi is no less vivacious. Slightly irreverent (like Gene Vincent reading J.G. Ballard) it doesn’t take long for the crowd to warm to his neo-rockabilly vibe with ‘Crack, Baby’ bringing a little New Orleans to Wolverton and with lyrics such as “You know I like to blaze, you know I love to toke/but when you do crack baby, it’s just a waste of coke”, he really can’t go wrong. Mashing up Jace Everett’s ‘Bad Things’ with The Doors’ ‘People Are Strange’ works surprisingly well before his own ‘Girl With A Gretsch’ tells a surreal tale of Jesus and Lucifer on a night out. Hailing from Bedford, Adrian’s astute lyricism has a local twist with ‘Probably North 10th Street’ documenting an (alleged) whorehouse while a nod to Milton Keynes’ finest institution (‘Woodhill Prison Blues’) raises more than a few smiles. Well-earned encore ‘The Battle Of Morden’ captures the excitement of a good rumble and caps an enjoyable set.
I’ve had the honour of seeing ex-Pistol Glen Matlock in concert several times but tonight he’s performing sans band for an intimate acoustic show. With little fanfare Glen arrives, plugs in and hypnotises the audience, and by the time we reach third track ‘Keep On Pushing’ all those present are firmly in the groove. Tonight’s set stops off at all points of Glen’s career, and we revisit the criminally underrated (and underappreciated) Rich Kids with ‘Burning Sounds’ which makes a fine prelude to ‘God Save The Queen’ and, as you’d expect, has all but the mute singing along and almost raises the roof. New track ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ follows and, with its contemporary lyrics, nestles nicely amongst the classic, more established tracks. Within the close confines of The Craufurd Arms Glen’s performance becomes much more conversational and he regales the audience with some of rock’s best stories, one of which involves a tryst in Berlin with Iggy Pop and some transvestites (!), before launching into ‘Ambition’ (from the album on which he collaborated with Iggy, Soldier).
When Glen left the Sex Pistols it seems ludicrous that he was pillorised for his inherent sense of melody (and it’s no surprise that when he left that band, they became cartoonish and imploded) yet there’s a strong euphony present that threads all the songs together, regardless of whatever era they originate. The second half of the set is (largely) dedicated to covers; Bowie’s ‘John, I’m Only Dancing’, Springsteen’s ‘Hungry Heart’ and Screaming Jay Hawkins’ ‘Hooks In You’ are all surprise (but welcome) additions and are handled with the care they warrant. Glen returns for two well deserved encores, both of which are pivotal to his story, firstly ‘Pretty Vacant’ on which the crowd require little goading to sing-along and then a magical rendition of The Small Faces’ ‘All Or Nothing’ (childhood heroes who Glen later played with). Tonight’s gig was rather like looking through your cool friend’s record collection and, thankfully, Glen cares enough about his past so we can relive a little of ours.