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Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse

Tuesday 16th April 2024

The Beaverwood, Chislehurst, Kent

Expanding their eclectic nature once again with their third and forthcoming new fourteen-track album, 'Hot Nostalgia Radio', that's out on Friday 3rd May, California-based Roots-Rock band Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse have been gaining momentum across the UK and Europe for their acclaimed genre-bending music and epic one-of-a-kind live shows, and this Tuesday they stopped off at Chislehurst's The Beaverwood in Kent for the opening night of their twenty-date April/May UK tour

A New Orleans inspired, Blues, Folk, Soul, Roots-Rock quintet, created by Louisiana-born-and-raised musician Greta Valenti (Well Hung Heart) and UK British Blues Hall of Fame Inductee, Robin Davey (The Hoax), their mix of soulful songs, intense energy and world-class award-winning musicianship, have been on our radar for a long time, although this was the first time I personally had seen them live. Indeed, on a night, where I managed to delete all my scribblings, on top of deviations to the band's printed setlist, my one major consolation was how memorable there two hour plus set was, or as my partner in crime put it so eloquently, "I can't believe how good they were .."

Complemented by Tom Rasulo on drums, Sam Robertson on keys and Stephen Mildwater on drums, and with the stage festooned with roses and fairy lights wrapped around their mic stands, they kicked off with an oldie but an epic goodie, namely 'Trouble Is Coming' from 2022's 'Good Times End Times', with the musical and personal chemistry between husband and wife team, Robin and Greta, immediately evident. Setting a very high bar with that opener, "Thrill Me', from 2019's 'Love & Murder', did exactly what it said on the tin, as did the boppy Rock of 'Gris Gris', another from 'GTET', with a bar room piano solo from the oh so talented Sam, equally matched by Robin's guitar retort.

If I'm not mistaken (given that two weren't on the printed setlist), the next four songs were the first airings of the night from the new album, namely the funky 'Middle Of The Night', followed by the slower, but equally appealing 'Sad When I'm Dancing', the ballad 'The Runaway', showcasing a beautiful, crystal clear vocal from the aptly Blues haired Greta and wonderful guitar outro from the immaculately hatted Robin, and finally the catchy beat, courtesy of the impressive engine room of Tom and the flat capped/shades wearing Stephen, on 'Don't Let Go'. All augured well for that release in a couple of weeks time!

Back on more familiar territory, the state of Louisiana to be precise, and the groovy, foot tappin' riff of 'L&M's 'Good Ride', an opportunity for both the bespectacled/flowing haired Robertson and the imposing Davey to put their foot down and flourish on this one of many set highlights. 'GTET's 'Lucid' was followed by two baby boomers, firstly the uptempo Punk of 'Hot Nostalgia Radio's 'I Told My Baby', that was in contrast to Valenti's delightful vocal on 'L&M's 'Baby Baby', apparently the first song Greta wrote on acoustic guitar.

Not only did Greta grab her shaker for the beautiful 'Marie', but her "roadie" then fitted her up with an overhead light (I kid you not) on the brilliantly entitled 'Don't Let The Bastards Drag You Down', as Greta's vocal and Robin's extended solo, no doubt helped the delighted audience forget all about the current troubles of the world, outside this happy little marquee in the middle of a field.

Another newbie from 'HNR', 'Harder To Breathe', saw Valenti's vocal shine as brightly as the unwieldy lamp still precariously held above her head, apparently a throwback to a stage prop in their Well Hung Heart days. Testament to their versatility and strength of the new album, they then reeled off a quintet of further tracks from 'HNR', namely Rob's slide on 'Penny Paid Rockstar', the jaunty 'Let's Ride', Sam's accordion on the happy clappy Hillbilly vibe of 'Mama Cray', Greta's undeniable sass singing the driving banger 'Wild Woman'. plus finally a crowd singalong as Valenti, not for the first time, jumped off the stage, to the rockin' riff of their first album single 'Satisfy Your Queen'.

Talking of rockin' and first singles, 'GTET's 'Fill Me Up' kept up the intense pace, as did their latest single and new album opener 'Oh Yeah' that saw Valentini rockin' out to another exceptional solo from Davey. At this juncture, we had our first cover of the night, a snappy bite of Elton John's 'Crocodile Rock', before they ended their set with L&M's with 'What's My Name', with The Beaverwood faithful entering into the spirit of an amazing evening, duly responding to the song's lyrical question, shouting "Beaux Gris Gris!".

Earlier in the set, the band mentioned that the last time they played this venue, only thirteen people were present, hence them asking whether we wanted an extra half an hour? Stupid question really, given the healthy turnout tonight. Therefore, cue the welcome encores of, firstly L&M's, 'When My Baby Was Rich', and finally, just to make us feel all at home, this California-based outfit with an English twist, ended an exceptional set with a classic cover of T. Rex's '20th Century Boy'.

Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse continue their 'Hot Nostalgia Radio Tour' tonight at London's Pizza Express in Dean Street, although very understandably, after what we witnessed tonight, it's now sold out.

What's your name? Beaux Gris Gris! Don't forget it folks!


Photos: Simon Green

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