Boo Hewerdine at the 100 Club

The 100 Club is the last regular live music venue left in Oxford Street, London W1..

It’s a smallish, old style, friendly venue, which has been putting on bands since the Second World War.

There’s a certain sadness reflecting down from the walls covered in past glories – photos of Stones, the Who, The Clash and great jazz legends who played the venue during its heyday.

Boo Hewerdine at the 100Club

I’ve always had a soft spot for the club because it played a big part in punk, with the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, Siouxsie & The Banshees, the Buzzcocks the Vibrators and Subway Sect all strutting their stuff on the diminutive stage.

Even I managed to gig there quite a few times over my somewhat understated musical career and I’d always found it an exciting, lively venue – and I never found the crowds backward in coming forward with an opinion about my band!

I hadn’t been back to the club for years on end, so I quite looked forward to seeing how things had changed.

Boo Hewerdine at the 100Club

Well, it kinda looked the same but everything seemed a whole lot more civilised than I remembered it.

Now people sat down to watch the bands (eek!) and the thundering rock and roll had been replaced by the polite whirr of the air conditioning and a curious support act called Paul the Girl.

When she wasn’t delivering horrible, bloke-tastic guitar solos, there was some fine, sensitive and highly original songwriting to be heard in a kind of PJ Harvey meets thr White Stripes kinda way. One to watch maybe….

Maybe it was because it was a summer Wednesday, but it has to be said that the crowd wasn’t exactly going to be troubling the bar staff too much – only about a 100 or so turned up to see Boo Hewerdine.

His band was lean and mean – a girl singer, a drummer (with just a snare drum), Ray Jackson on guitar and Hewerdine on acoustic guitar and vocals.

His set was a mixed affair of old and new numbers, most of them fairly miserable (but that’s OK with me – I like downbeat songwriters and have really enjoyed Boos solo stuff!)

He knocked out a few old Bible tunes – the superlative ‘Honey Be Good’ and a rousing version of ‘Crystal Palace’ – along with some of his newer, mellower material. All great stuff to my ears.

Hewerdine ended with a passionate rendition of ’16 Miles’ from his second album, Ignorance:

Did you ever see London at night
And not want to go home?
Did you ever take drugs, stay up late
Just to see what you would see?
Did you ever have love and hate
Scratched across your hand?
Or did you turn round
With 16 miles to go?

I loved the gig, although at times it seems like Hewerdine can’t decide whether to be a muso or a rocker, switching from strutting, emotional shakedowns to eyes closed, nodding clever-clog chords with knowing muso grins exchanged with his tech-tastic guitarist.

I guess it has to be said that although I’ve always been drawn to confessional tunesmiths, it perhaps doesn’t make for the most exciting night out in the West End.

Or, as my girlfriend put it: “he wants to cheer up a bit, that bloke”….