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Jake Vegas & The Black Diamonds

Tuesday 10th March 2020

 The 100 Club, London

If a pre-corona Tuesday is going to be a throwback night then there is no better place to go than the 100 Club in Oxford Street. Formerly known as the Feldman Swing Club in the thirties, the restaurant was a restaurant call Mack’s which was hired out every Sunday by Robert Feldman as a Jazz Club featuring Swing music, playing host to American GI's. It was the only place in town where audience members could perform the Jitterbug, which was banned everywhere else because of its risqué gyrations.

This is exactly the venue that Jake Vegas & The Black Diamonds find themselves in their element. Billed as London’s greasiest band, they don’t look out of place amongst the pictures of sixties Jazz and Blues greats festooned on the walls. Jake Vegas, himself, sports a cravat and spats and fronts his band of sax player, keyboards, drumsand Andy Wiersma on guitar. He seems to be soused in late-night Soho revelry; I’m surprised he didn’t break out a pack of 60’s branded cigarettes mid-set, lending his voice an extra-gravelly texture.

Their set comprised of covers of Blues standards with a sprinkling of Punkish Rockabilly, with Wiersma at times employing a chuck Berry picking-style on what looks like a Rickenbacker guitar (some murmurings from the crowd suggest it’s something a bit more special than that). The rousing chorus of 'Three Hundred Pounds of Joy' (a Howlin’ Wolf cover) reverberated around the famous 100 Club room, accompanied by much whooping and hollerin’. The final blow was delivered by a rollicking version of 'I Want My Fanny Brown', and then straight to Trisha’s to dowse themselves in Whisky.

There is some considerable doubt that these cats will emerge from their Speakeasy’s into the daylight after this period of lockdown.

Ivan De Mello

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