A few years ago, it looked like Chas & Dave would be no more after vocalist/bass player Dave Peacock decided to walk away from the iconic double act he and his mate, vocalist/pianist Chas Hodges, put together in 1975 (both had previously been session musicians on the London circuit), due to the death of his wife, Sue.
Two years later (in 2011), the pair were back together for what was originally billed as a farewell tour, but in 2013 they put out an acclaimed new album, That’s What Happens (their first studio album for 18 years), and remain out on the road doing what they do best to this day – to the delight of their many followers.
Tonight’s venue, the 02 Forum in Kentish Town, was packed with enthusiastic fans ready to sing along to their favourite ‘rockney‘ anthems and the beer was certainly flowing when support act The Rifles came out on stage.
The indie four-piece (though there were only three of them tonight – drummer Grant Marsh was absent) received a warm reception and spoke of their admiration for the headliners. The highlight of their set was a spirited version of the yuletide favourite, “Sleigh Ride.”
Consisting of a series of medleys, the record contains many tunes instantly familiar to British audiences including “When I’m Cleaning Windows,” “Any Old Iron,” “Run Rabbit Run,” “The Laughing Policeman,” “Give It to the Girl Next Door,” “Margie” and “Babyface.” Upon completion, the three musicians left the stage for a well-earned break.
The band opened the second half strongly with “Wallop” and “Gertcha.” The enthusiastic crowd participation continued with the timeless snub to the Costa Brava, “Margate.”
A saxophone quartet then came out to help the boys with “Brother-in-Law,” “London Girls,” “That Old Piano” and “That’s What I Like,” which Chas introduced by saying it was a favourite of gold medal-winning cyclist Bradley Wiggins.
Other sublime moments included “One Fing ‘n’ Anuvver,” “I Wonder in Whose Arms,” “Snooky Loopy” and a reflective ode to Chas’s home town, “Edmonton Green.” There was also space for newer songs among such tried-and-tested material, as “Two World’s Collide” off That’s What Happens was given an airing.
To close the show, the threesome pulled out the triple whammy of “Rabbit,” “Ain’t No Pleasing You” and “The Sideboard Song,” which had the audience in the seating area up on their feet dancing. There was no encore – I mean how can you follow three songs of that calibre?
The party atmosphere spilled out on to the street afterwards as drunken revellers made their way to Kentish Town tube station boisterously singing the brilliantly-crafted songs that have over time become standards. Be grateful that we still have Chas & Dave – there’ll never be anyone else like them.
For more on Chas & Dave, visit their official website.