Monday, March 24, 2008

The Sonics at The Forum

They’ve been called the first punk rock band, and influenced Iggy and the Stooges, Nirvana and many others, but the Sonics are much more than that. Making their UK debut at The Forum in North London and selling the place out not once but twice, the band that is credited with creating the Seattle sound in the mid sixties showed that they were and are a highly professional rock and roll band.
The Sonics are probably best known for the Range Rover TV ad which featured their original track Have Love – Will Travel, but they undoubtedly enjoy cult status. The audience at The Forum was mostly young and trendy, with a few rockabilly fans and punks making up the rest. The distorted guitar sound of lead guitarist Larry Papyra set the scene for a set which was exciting, fast moving and quite exceptional and featured three of the originals (Larry Papyra, keyboardist and lead singer Gerry Roslie and sax and harmonica player Rob Lind - pictured) from the original Tacoma, Washington, line up plus Ricky Lynn Johnson (of The Wailers) on drums and Don Wilhelm (of The Daily Flash) on bass and vocals.
Having broken up in 1967 to go their separate ways (Rob Lind was a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War), the Sonics reformed in 2007 and their great performances have clearly enhanced their cult status still more. The band tore into a string of high energy numbers including fantastic originals such as Psycho, Strychnine, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Hustler and The Witch, along with some excellent covers, including Lucille (the band recorded several Little Richard sings in their heyday), Money, Walking The Dog and one of their trademark numbers Louie Louie.
All in all, the Sonics exceeded my expectations and the crowd didn’t seem the least upset that a promised appearance by Pete Doherty failed to materialise (surprise, surprise). The support act, a goth-garage band from Southend called The Horrors, lived up to their name. Larry Papyra is quoted as saying: “We were nasty. Everything you’ve heard people say about us is true.” Nasty they may be, but hell they’re good.


At 5:20 pm , Anonymous John said...

Tho' the Sonics original cut of HLWT was used on the TV ad I'm sure you are aware it is a Richard Berry number, which makes me think The Sonics were merely following The Kingsmen who had the biggest hit with Richard Berry's Louie Louie, and so The Sonics decided to cut what was, to my belief, the follow-up. Yours was the most sympathetic obit on Paul Raymond I read, and since he was an unlettered small-moustached spiv I always found him admirable in that he had become wealthy beyond the dreams of Sugar/Branson, but his achievements were dismissed, while Arthur C. Clarke, average writer, gay, probable paedo, was lauded in his pop press obits as a visionary, while in my extensive readings of his works can find only one story at all worthwhile, The Nine Million Names of God, which you should seek out, first published in...Playboy. Hefner, Guccione, Meyer, Raymond, but NOT Sullivan should be properly applauded


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