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  • Writer's pictureJO'B

The House Of Love and Pete Astor, The Garage, London, 25th September 2022

Buy one, get one free (or BOGOFF) is a standard marketing technique and tonight definitely delivers on this. The fabulous House Of Love are back, with their strongest album in decades, supported by the marvellous Pete Astor, formerly of The Loft and The Weather Prophets. The perfect show for a late 80s indie music fan. Pete also has a fab new album out, Time On Earth.

The House of Love

But the best part of this evening is that Mrs JO'B and I are on the guestlist - something I haven't managed to blag since the late 1980s (see Love At First Sight - My First Marillion Gig). How I hear you ask? Not because of our rock'n'roll connections, or because I have finally secured the career in the music industry I should have done all those years ago? Nope. Because Guy Chadwick is also The Sash Guy - sash window repairs to the stars (and us).

His team (Guy, plus the House Of Love's bass player and guitarist) are great and they did a fabulous job on our windows. I decided I couldn't be in the house when they were there, as I would have made an arse of myself. However, Mrs JO'B was in and had to bear the ignominy of me propping up my copy of She Paints Words In Red on my turntable, so they'd know I am a proper fan (tragic stuff). They notice and are charming and when we pay them promptly, they offer us free tickets to a gig (yes!).

We turn up on the night and disaster, our names are not on the list! But Mrs JO'B has an email from Guy's wife Susie, so it's all fine and we are in! We quickly meet up with Martine, the heroine of our recent secret Suede adventure (NB NOT heroin - Brett's done with all that - I Heard A Rumour....Suede aka Crushed Kid live at The MOTH Club - 5th September 2022).

The ever dapper Mr Pete Astor

A quick beer is acquired and then we head to the front to see Pete Astor's set. Pete on vocals and guitar, backed by just bass and drums makes a hell of a noise. His guitar sounds like there is at least another on stage with him. Though his very English songs can be gentle, tonight they motor along. He's clearly obsessed with the meteorological matters (his former band The Weather Prophets, plus songs like English Weather, Winter, Why Does The Rain, She Comes From The Rain, Walk Into The Wind, Your Sun Leaves The Sky...). Tonight's set focuses on the new album, but we are treated to The Loft's Why Does The Rain and the magnificent Almost Prayed. Seven songs, but it's all perfect.

He closes his set with Fine And Dandy, a song about his old, and sadly departed, friend Pat Fish aka The Jazz Butcher, who left this world last year. Pete recounts heading over to see Pat at his home, Fishy Mansions - Pat probably drank a little too much (don't we all?), but was convinced that he was ok, as he only drank German beer, because he thought it was pure and therefore healthier. I never got into The Jazz Butcher, but really should open that Pandora's Box to add to my other obsessions...

Pete heads straight from the stage to the merch stall, and I buy the new album, plus two other records. He asks if I want him to sign them, and for some reason I say please sign them to Back In Black(heath) rather than boring old JO'B - he recognises the name and that it's my blog and encourages me to keep writing it. Teenage JO'B would be SO impressed and my evening is already made. (I wrote about Pete at the tribute gig in memory of David McComb of The Triffids, and Pete was very kind about my clunky review - Threescore Devotional - Celebrating David McComb, The Betsey Trotwood, London, 17th February 2022).

And then the main act swiftly takes the stage. Mercurial guitarist Terry Bickers has left again (amicably I understand), but this new House Of Love lineup is the most muscular I have seen. They hit us quickly with three classics from their debut album, Road, Christine and Hope. No messing around tonight, this is a celebration.,

We get our first dose of the new album, A State Of Grace, with Light Of The Morning, a country blues track that keeps up the pace and has the audience hooked. This is the album John Squire wishes he had made instead of the dreadful Stone Roses sophomore effort.

We head straight back to familiar territory with The Beatles And The Stones, a track I hated when it came out, but now adore (though I am still not sure about that "sucked the marrow out of bones" lyric...). It's fab. Sweet Loser and Melody Rose take us forward again to the new album, the former a slow burning number, while the latter is all John Bonham drums, and swampy guitars.

Under appreciated third album, Babe Rainbow gets three nods tonight, with The Girl With The Loneliest Eyes, Crush Me and Burn Down The World. The former is Guy's favourite HoL song, and it's just gorgeous tonight.

I couldn't find a YouTube clip from the Garage, but this is from this tour!

Shine On, Destroy The Heart and I Don't Know Why I Love You warm the cockles of my indie kid heart, though I am a little sad there's nothing from She Paints Words In Red, which I played to death, but I guess you can't fit it all in. And it would be churlish to complain, when the new album is so good, especially title track A State Of Grace. No merch stand though - boo!

So all in all, a great night, definitely check them out, I am sure they will be back on the road next year, but first they have a 30th anniversary tour to deliver in the US. Well worth a look, my friends over there!


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