This review should have just been for the What’s Cookin’ show but this reviewer got his days confused so that the photographer Simon Partington showed up on the correct night and to make sure we delivered the review I went to the next night at Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues. Both shows are legendary club nights with hosts who like to give long rambling introductions to the bands on the bill, I’d be hard pushed to say who is better at it Rambling Steve or Gaz Mayall, but they are both entertaining and both run great nights. This review will weave the two shows together with all the photos coming from the first night.
What’s Cookin’ is a grass roots venue with a very kitsch decorated stage above The Ex-Servicemens Club in Leytonstone. It has vintage style photography portraits of music legends past and present, some decorated with plastic garlands around the walls. The room is dark and atmospheric with red saturated lighting. The audience is normally a mix of regular locals and some fellow musicians it’s always friendly with a welcoming atmosphere.
Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues is in many ways the opposite, being in the St Moritz a Soho basement bar beneath a Swiss Chalet style restaurant in Wardour Street that hasn’t changed in longer than 35 years that I’ve been an irregular customer over the years it has hosted gigs by many legendary bands ranging from Johnny thunders to The Parkinsons and beyond. As usual the audience is a mix of students looking for cheap late-night drinks in central London and older music fans who know they always put on great bands with great DJs with a nice after-hours vibe to it.
Trixie and the Trainwrecks are a duo made up of Trinity Sarratt and Charlie Hangdog, Trinity originally grew up in San Francisco before moving to Berlin aged 18 where she started performing as a busker on trains and then in the groups Cry Babies, Runaway Brides and then solo as Trixie Trainwreck No Man Band and has recently teamed up with Charlie Hangdog who has played with all sorts of people over the years including Holly Golightly and John Drain.
First on at What’s Cookin at a night of Rock ‘n Roll duos are GoGo Loco from Northampton. They play trashy Rock n’ Roll with chiming guitar and a Bo Diddley Beat. Engaging energetic and expressive singer and guitarist Joe Go Loco who really let rip on Go Loco, the bands most recent single. He really got cookin’ for most of the set along-side percussionist Cheadle’ A Gogo who was playing drums with maracas while getting with the Loco Fever.
Joe Go Loco’s really worked on Flip Your Lid, while they tried to get everyone dancing for Maraca Go Go before asking the essential question What Would Diddley Do? They have a couple of dance craze songs including The Gogo Loco Twist. They closed their set with the brilliantly named Sneazy Lapels.
Ramblin’ Steve then got back up and made sure they got the encore they deserved and they came back and played a very cool version of John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom.
Trixie And The Trainwrecks came on after a long ramblin’ intro that explained that Trixie had Laryngitis but that she wasn’t going to let that stop her playing her very sparse drum kit and acoustic guitar and singing for us while London legend Charlie Hangdog blows Blues Harp next to her, I was struggling to remember who the last band I saw Charlie play with was as he is a fixture as a special guest on the London live scene.
Trixie was downing honey like it was whiskey in the hope that her voice would hold out so she could Get Busy Living while Charlie Hangdog blew some great blues harp over her sparse drumming – using just a bass drum and snare set up. Trixie started playing her guitar as well as the drums on God Damn Angels and soon got a really great groove going to start filling the dancefloor at the St Moritz with dancers. Beatle Bug Boogie really had some swing to it and croaky vocals not withstanding still sounded real cool.
They did a very cool and quite long version of This Train by Sister Rosetta Tharpe although Trixie mainly sang the chorus and missed most of the verses it didn’t matter as they had that train rhythm just right. Heaven was the one song that probably benefited from having really throaty, almost ready to expire vocals, to accompany the honking blues they were playing. Trixie was ready to stop singing but as they couldn’t find the DJ they carried on with Too Good To Be Blue which is something most of the audience were trying to be as is normal at Gaz’s Rockin Blues.
As the DJ still hadn’t re-appeared they played a fairly sparse and beautiful version of Daddies Gone before closing with a very sparse and wonderful version of Summertime Blues during which Charlie left the stage to find the DJ while Trixie played on and was joined on vocals by a woman from the audience who clearly didn’t know the words of the song and yet somehow it was a wonderfully fitting close to a very cool set that would have obviously been better if Trixie’s voice was in full working order.
Trixie And The Trainwrecks and Gogo Loco Live at What’s Cookin’ and Gaz’s Rockin Blues 25th & 26th September 2019 with photography by Simon Partington and review by Simon Phillips.