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Godfathers - Shot Live at the 100 Club

  by John Clarkson

published: 2 / 12 / 2010

Godfathers - Shot Live at the 100 Club
Label: Secret Records
Format: CD


Fantastic live CD/DVD from rock 'n' roll/punk band, the Godfathers, recorded at a gig at the 100 Club in their native London to celebrate their 25th anniversary

When the Godfathers got back together after a seven year absence in their original line-up at the beginning of 2007, nobody, least of all its members, expected them to stay together for very long. The initial plan was to reform for an indeterminate, yet limited period of time, and, in contrast to before when the Godfathers had several line-ups down the line simply fizzled out, to finish the band on some sort of high. After it became apparent, however, that the group’s central figures, vocalist Peter Coyne and his bass-playing brother Chris Coyne, wanted to make the reunion more permanent, that line-up of the group broke up in pretty much the same pattern as it had before. Guitarist Kris Dollimore was the first to go at the beginning of last year, but this time he was fired while last time he left. Shortly afterwards he was joined by the group’s other guitarist Mike Gibson and drummer George Mazur, both of whom parted company from the band more amicably. The Godfathers have since then been working as a four-piece. Drummer Grant Nicholls is a former Godfather and played on their last studio album to date, ‘Afterlife’ (1997). Del Bartle was the guitarist in the Coynes’ previous group, the Sid Presley Experience, which released two singles and toured with Billy Bragg on his ‘Jobs for Youth’ tour. They split directly before the formation of the Godfathers in 1985. This double pack CD/DVD was filmed and recorded at the legendary 100 Club in Oxford Street, London on the 17th June this year, twenty five years to the day after the Godfathers played their first gig at the long defunct Embassy Club in nearby Soho. At one level ‘Shot Live at the 100 Club’ is a birthday party gig to celebrate the Godfathers’ quarter of a century in the business. At another it is a reformation show for the Sid Presley Experience. Indeed the show opens and closes with two Sid Presley Experience numbers. Snappy opening instrumental, ‘Public Enemy Number One’, was one half of the SPE’s double A-sided debut single, while closer, the psychedelic ‘Cold Turkey’,again from 1984, was their second single and is a harrowing and furious cover of the John Lennon song about heroin withdrawal. Elsewhere in the set the Godfathers throw in the other half of that first single, the three-chord stomp of ‘Hup 2-3-4’, and also a version of Vince Taylor’s classic rock ‘n’ roll number, ‘Brand New Cadillac’. The rest of the set is dominated by some of the near hits and the better known album tracks from the Godfathers’ first four albums, while their last two CDs, the notably weaker and less well known ‘The Godfathers’ (1993) and ‘Afterlife’, despite the presence of Nicholls, are not considered. Over twenty years on from when most of these songs were released they sound as fiery as ever. There is the rock ‘n’ roll punk of ‘I Want Everything’, ‘Can’t Leave Her Alone’ and ‘This Damn Nation’ from 1986’s self-released indie debut ‘Hit by Hit’; ‘Cause I Said So’ and ‘Love is Dead’ from 1988’s ‘Birth School Work and Death’, by which time the Godfathers had signed to Sony and become a mainstream act; live rockabilly favourite ‘Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues’ and ‘How Low is Low?’, the closest thing the Godfathers ever came to a ballad, from 1989’s ‘More Songs about Love and Hate’, and the swaggering, epic ‘This Is War’ and also ‘How Does It Feel to Feel’ from 1991’s ‘Unreal World’. The latter, a version of the 60’s psychedelic cult single, Peter Coyne introduces self-knowingly as being “originally performed by a great English band called the Creation performed tonight by a great English band called the Godfathers.” The main set is closed with the Godfathers’ finest moment and best known song, ‘Birth School Work Death’, which a damningly nihilistic indictment of 80’s Thatcherist society, sounds still as contemporary as ever in Cameron and Clegg’s uncaring 21st century Britain. Any thought that the Godfathers might have, however, become simply a nostalgia act is instantly squashed by the introduction of two new songs. The Pistols-style ‘I Can’t Sleep Tonight’ is thrown early into the set and its soaring power guitar chords and grinding bass line are broken up by a brief drum solo from Nicholls. ‘Back into the Future’, which comes towards the end of the main set, is another vituperative anti-authoritarian number with spat-out lyrics and a jabbing rhythm. Peter Coyne is as always an impressively imposing, menacing figure on stage. Eyes hard and staring, dressed in the standard Godfathers attire of an expensive suit, his vocals are urgent and angry as he paces about the stage like he is ready to knife somebody. Only his in-between song talk hints that he has an admittingly dark, yet more humorous and tongue-in-cheek side. “You better fucking buy it,” he says to the audience about ‘Back into the Future’, which will be released as a single. “Otherwise we’ll get all your addresses off the internet and come round and do a fucking number on you.” His brother provides firm backing on bass whilethe rascally Grant Nicholls is obviously quite a character. It is, however, Del Bartle, who has spent the last twenty five years in musical obscurity, who is the stand-out presence. Half his face hidden behind a vast pair of shades, a solitary bead of sweat trickling down his cheek throughout the eighty minute set, this “one man orchestra”, as Peter Coyne describes him, takes on the parts it used to take two Godfathers guitarists to play and remarkably pulls it off. The Godfathers have since the early 90’s and they left Sony not played to the same capacities of audience. They may no longer be contenders, but on the evidence of this live CD and DVD they remain very much a force still to be reckoned with.

Track Listing:-
1 Public Enemy
2 I Want Everything
3 Cause I Said So
4 I Can't Sleep Tonight
5 Love Is Dead
6 Just Because You're Not Paranoid
7 Can't Leave Her Alone
8 She Gives Me Love
9 Happy Birthday
10 When I'm Coming Down
11 This Is War
12 I Want You
13 How Does It Feel
14 I'm Branded
15 Lonely Man
16 Back Into The Future
17 Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues
18 How Low Is Low
19 Hup 2 3 4
20 This Damned Nation
21 Birth, School, Work, Death
22 Brand New Cadillac
23 I'm Unsatisfied
24 Cold Turkey

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