Graham Parker & The Rumour performed in London for the first time since 1979 and had a set list to thrill. With lights bright for the opening numbers of Fools Gold and White Honey the over capacity crowd, I mean it was crammed at the Shepherds Bush Empire, went wild.
In the last few years the Rumour have been backing GP in the USA and have even been involved in the film This Is 40 directed by Judd Apatow. The film features Parker, as himself, performing in a duo (with Tom Freund) and with the Rumour. “Getting to film Graham Parker and the Rumour’s first performance in 30 years was one of the highlights of my career,” says Apatow. “They rocked hard, and I must say Graham Parker as an actor is really funny.”
Graham Parker has his initials worked into the fretboards of his guitars but somehow his performance is more marked and charismatic when he puts the guitar down. His vocal performance on Howlin’ Wind gets you deep in the heart and you know this is going to be a good night.
Songs from the new album There Chords Good are mixed in with classic Parker material and what is very noticeable is how good the band still are. Martin Belmont throwing his guitar round and matching riffs to Parker’s vocal excellence. Brinsley Schwarz who originally formed The Rumour after his own band split up plays a reliable band leader. Bob Andrews jumps around at the keyboards and joins in with chorus’ as much as he can, all smiles he looks like he can hardly contain himself.
GP tells a good story and after every few songs an anecdote to introduce the next. The moody Black Honey “set the place on fire” when it was played at the Roundhouse in 1976 supporting Andy Fairweather Low. Ironically he states that “we were England’s fastest band” From here on the hits follow and two of the all night favourite songs Moon Comes Down and Hotel Chambermaid turn memory lane up a notch or two.
Of his newer songs Long Emotional Ride captures the spirit of the bands reunion and there venture into film, Don’t Ask Me Questions, a documentary on Parker by the Gramaglia Brothers (End Of The Century: The Story Of The Ramones), has been in the works for over ten years and captures the recording of Three Chords Good and Parker and the Rumour on the set of This is 40 in Hollywood.
Graham Parker and the Rumour were a band that appealed to girls just as much and in a noticeable mix of the sexes it was good to see many round me were dancing to Local Girls and Stupidfaction which drew the set to a close. But they were not gone for long and a four song encore followed including Hey Lord and a Parkerilla version of I Want You Back.
What a great night, what memories came flooding back. I had forgotten I had actually seen (from a distance) GP & The Rumour supporting Bob Dylan at The Zims Picnic at Blackbushe Aerodrome in 1978.
The band already have some UK dates lined up for June next year, this gig sold out so fast so get in quick.
Here is the whole photography set:
Words and Photography by Simon Jay Price. October 26th 2013.