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Dirty Thrills

Wednesday 13th September 2017

Crowndale Club, Camden, London

Having recently been announced as part of a stunning Planet Rock sponsored four band 'Coming Under Heavy Fire' November UK tour headlined by Black Star Riders (plus Blues Pills and Tax The Heat), London based Rock group Dirty Thrills launched their new album, ‘Heavy Living’ last Wednesday, which was in fact released two days later. Playing the whole album in its entirety and in the right order (a reviewer's dream) at a free special launch party at The Crowndale (formerly the Purple Turtle) in Camden, London - these guys proved once again that they are well and truly on the up. We first introduced you to Louis James - lead vocals and harmonica, Jack Fawdry - guitar, backing vocals, Steve Corrigan - drums and Aaron Plows – bass, back in August 2015 plus we also saw them on the Ramblin' Man Fair Rising Stage in 2016 and also had the pleasure of recently interviewing the band at this year's Ramblin' Man Fair, following their performance on the Grooverider Stage - affirmation if needed that Dirty Thrills are going places.

By the time the band came on stage at around 9pm there was a good size following at this great little venue (our first visit there) - just across the road from the Koko and Mornington Crescent Tube. Right from the opening salvo of new single 'I'll Be With You', which smacked of Rival Sons meets Bad Company meets Soundgarden meets Led Zeppelin, it left those there, that were in any doubt, that these guys do indeed rock - an opportunity not only for the skin booted and suited Louis James to loosen his tonsils and his vocal range but also for some welcome audience handicapping participation towards its end. The first time we saw Dirty Thrills was last June supporting the dirty Groove Rock Of America's Crobot at Islington's O2 Academy and Crobot's on-stage animation and energy had seemingly rubbed off on Dirty Thrills big time - although the name of their second track 'Go Slow' was a bit misleading given the driving rock of Jack Fawdry's guitar. Up next was the Western themed groove of 'Law Man' - their first single from 'HL' - very akin to the Rival Sons modern Retro Rock that's currently all over the radio in America - Louis accordingly with tambourine in hand. The Crowndale sound system was great, although the lighting was a bit dark for the gathered WRC paparazzi! And as far as Louis' pun of "being thrilled" when he introduced their next song - there was indeed no 'Hanging Around' as the band launched into the fourth track of the same name - with no let up in both James and Fawdry's powerful delivery.

But Dirty Thrills do indeed have charisma in abundance as testified by the engine room of their manic moustachioed/scarf laden bass guitarist Aaron Plows and drummer Steve Corrigan who seemed to savour every beat, although they did it slow it down with 'Lonely Soul', originally from their acoustic EP 'Devils Wine' - transformed by Fawdry's slide guitar that built nicely and naturally, that lent itself to great guitar solo outro. The inclusion of the Heavy Blues Rock of Dirty Thrills staple 'No Resolve' (originally from their debut album and the live version on their EP 'Sweetheart Of The Slums') understandably complemented both the set and the album itself - another great vocal and guitar solo - and a riff - if ever I heard one - that deserved to have James throw the mic stand around a bit! Indeed, Louis' late father Nicky (former vocalist of The Moody Blues V) and Nicky's old mucker John Bonham would no doubt both have been proud to see Louis' Plant-ish vocal gymnastics on the short 'Interlude' - its mystical path leading to the riffing barn-stormer and Crobot territory of 'The Brave' - the connection between the two tracks more palpable live than on the CD. Most probably the stand-out of the set. Awesome.

An a cappella intro from James led to another great riff and reverb on their other single 'Rabbit Hole', but if you wanted evidence that Dirty Thrills can mix it up then the cinematic feel of 'Drunk Words' - recycled from their earlier EP 'Growing Young' - certainly nailed it. And just in case we thought that the guys were going all soft - the pace of the set was picked up once again for the final track of the album - the punchy 'Get Loose'. With the bread and butter of 'Heavy Living' out of the way - it was time for the guys to let their hair down and get the beers out - even if Louis did have a problem using his bottle opener! Anyway in an epic encore, the tambourine waving James, on more familiar territory, got the audience singalong participation going on 'Shivers', another from their 'Growing Young' EP. The last two favourites were off of their debut album - the driving Rock of 'Follow Me Home' which not only saw Fawdry helping out on backing vocals but also saw Jack jumping on top of a speaker stack, and if you wanted a dirty explosive slide guitar plus the thrill of a stand out vocal - then they saved the best to blast with 'Sigh'. Loved the beat, vocals, everything - these guys kicked ass. If you want your Dirty Thrills - then you know where to go.


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