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Graham Day & the Gaolers - Dirty Water Club, London, 2/11/2007

  by Sarah Maybank

published: 23 / 11 / 2007

Graham Day & the Gaolers - Dirty Water Club, London, 2/11/2007


Sarah Maybank watches Graham Day, the former frontman with garage rockers the Prisoners and Solarflares, blast his way through a firestorming set with his new band the Gaolers at the Dirty Water Club in London

It’s the scissor kick that says it all. It comes a couple of songs before the encore of garage royalty Graham Day’s first frontman engagement for years - and it splits the night in two. Day has spent most of the gig in his own little power-riffed world, gimlet-eyed with gotta-get-this-right concentration. The hollering audience might consist of everything from Scandinavian fuzzbox junkies to snake-hipped Chelsea boot boys, but it could be Paul McCartney’s frog chorus for all he knows. He’s got more important business at hand, namely getting his head down, blasting away the ring rust, and focusing on giving his all. Then something gets to him. The couple doing the deranged punk rock jive directly in front of him ? The air-guitaring mod to their right? The fact that everyone, but everyone, is going ape-shit crazy ? Who knows? But suddenly, he’s taking something back from his sweat-drenched crowd, and he launches himself into the air, his face a picture of "Yeah, I knew I still had it" confidence. One, two, three, he’s back in the room. Day has been a treasured icon for those who enjoy their riffs served raw and ready ever since the birth of the 80's, when he founded his first band, Medway teen prodigies, the Prisoners. Ironically, for a bloke who forged his career in a crucible of hatred for be-frilled dandies the new romantics, he sure knows the showbiz impact of a snappy outfit. Don’t let those monochrome bellboy duds fool you, though. The only way you’ll find this bloke talking fashion with Gary Kemp or Simon Le Bon is if they ever get trapped in the Topshop lifts together. But don’t bank on it being polite. From the first, stinging chords to recent single ‘Get Off My Track’ it’s clear the bile and fire that first prompted Day to pick up a guitar in 1978 rage unabated. His soulful voice and penchant for playing with the power of Lewis Hamilton revving up a box-fresh McLaren make it clear he’s still that special meeting point between Steve Marriott and the Sonics; and his wildly-gyrating supporters, as always, provide the "Am I going to get out of here alive ?" sizzle essential to any gig worth going to. Equally important - for a bloke who swaps bands like Peter Stringfellow changes girlfriends – is Day’s knack for sniffing out driving, intuitive co-players. It’s something that makes you wish he was in charge of the England team, and, crucially, it’s still there. The Gaolers – Dan Elektro and Buzz Hagstrom of Atlanta, Georgia rockers The Woggles – are mere newcomers, notching up "just" 20 years each behind bass and drums. But their fault-free, back-up forms the perfectly engineered rocket launcher to Day’s Apollo 440 as he burns through a dozen or so ecstatically received new songs. Despite the type of reception usually reserved by ‘Celebrity Fat Club’ contestants for an illicit consignment of Krispy Kreme doughnuts – a world record for loudest applause has probably been set and exceeded at least a dozen times - cleverly the band refuse to outstay their welcome, and they exit the stage with everyone baying for more. As 2007’s comebacks go, the Spice Girls’ might be more high profile, and Led Zeppelin’s more likely to get 'Mojo' journalists hospitalised for over-excitement induced aneurisms. But try telling anyone in this room that Graham Day’s mattered less. Go on. We’ll hold your coat.

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Interview (2007)
Graham Day & the Gaolers - Interview
The former frontman with cult garage rock groups the Prisoners and the Solarflares, Graham Day has recently returned to live work with his latest band the Gaolers, and their debut album, ‘Soundtrack To The Daily Grind’. Sarah Maybank speak to him about his long musical career and the new album

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