When a band doffs a cap to The Shangri-Las within three seconds, I just know we’re gonna be onto a winner. “Yeah, well I hear he’s pretty bad” is the homage to my favourite girl group of all time. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. I could end the review there, but The Gotham Rockets deserve more than a little bit of your attention. These native New Yorkers have cut their chops with The Waldos and The Fleshtones (among others) so there’s plenty of pedigree on display. If it’s good-time barroom rock ‘n’ roll you’re after, then you’d better buckle up as you’re in for a treat. Get your dancing shoes at the ready, hepcats.
Bad with Girls kicks off the show with the aforementioned spoken word intro and we’re transported straight back to The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The Gotham Rockets deliver a delicious sprinkling of 1970s UK glam rock spearheaded by the mighty Mott the Hoople. Coupled with their New York swagger, it’s soulfully arranged and puts a big fat tick in the boxes labelled Johnny Thunders guitar work, Bobby Keys style saxophone, and Ronettes gone gospel backing vocals. I enjoyed this banger so much that I had to hit the rewind button four times. Damn, this is good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll with a whole lotta soul. Consider my tail feather suitably ruffled.
What’s Done is Done carries on the mantle with many a sax break that’s straight out of the late, great Clarence Clemons’ top pocket. There’s a Springsteen feel throughout the track in terms of style and arrangement; think of the upbeat tracks that kick-off The River album. Alternatively, if Little Steven wanted some new Disciples of Soul then he may well be in luck.
It’s three chord Eddie Cochran gone punk for the verses on Rip This Night and at this point we’re dancing on the tables; testing the patience of the barkeeper. Things aren’t over yet as Nothing But a Man brings this rollicking Blast Off four-tracker to a frantic end with a riff the MC5 would’ve been proud to call their own. It’s a massive amen and I certainly feel as though I’ve testified in the last 13 minutes. Mercy!
I love Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, and therefore I love The Gotham Rockets. I didn’t have a band at my wedding, but were money and time no object, I would’ve shipped these Americans across the pond to rip holy hell at the reception. Believe, brothers and sisters, for The Gotham Rockets are here to save your soul. Ginge Knievil
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