Live Review : Electric Boys + Last Great Dreamers + Hollowpoint @ The Tivoli, Buckley on March 22nd 2019

Our evening starts tonight with Hollowpoint, a 5-piece classic rock band from just over the border in Cheshire. They give us mostly original songs and a couple of covers. The sound is very much British blues-tinged hard rock, and they are very competent at making it. They’re probably not going to set the world on fire, but they obviously enjoy what they do even when, as tonight, there is a sparse crowd due to the football being on. There are probably dozens of Hollowpoint slogging it out in pubs and small clubs all over the country every weekend, they are the backbone of the rock scene and as a warm-up for your main attraction they are always worth a watch.

The middle band and main support act tonight are really difficult for me to review. Not because there’s anything wrong with them; quite the opposite in fact. Last Great Dreamers are personal favourites of mine and I find it very hard to write objectively about them. So with that in mind, I’m not going to! It’s also pretty hard to make many notes about the set when you are out on the floor dancing and singing along, so what you tend to get is a badly-punctuated stream-of-consciousness gush of love. Sorry. Watch you don’t slip on that dancefloor!

What do the Dreamers actually do then? Well tonight is the last night of the tour, so they party like it’s erm the last night of the tour. They are pop-rock, glam-rock, bubblegum rock, party rock – this band doesn’t sing about demons and war, and they definitely don’t make music to sacrifice goats to. It’s all upbeat, good-time riffage with harmony vocals and just a touch of sneery fuck-you attitude. They are the Tiggers of rock, bouncy bouncy fun fun fun. They make songs to sing along to – ‘Glitterball Apocalypse’ will make you dance, ‘Miles Awaywith its blues feel is a stormer, ‘White Light Black Heartis the ultimate audience singalong and a proper earworm, you’ll be humming it for days. The title track from their most recent album ‘13th Floor Renegades’ is aired, along with ‘Oblivion Kids’, the chart hit that never was. Hard enough to count as rock, soft enough for radio, it should have been a monster.

The band are introduced, including new bass player Tim who bounds around the stage like an eminent graduate from John Cleese’s Ministry of Silly Walks, and after a couple more songs it’s all over. Until next time that is, and I for one am left hoping next time will come around soon.

Headliners Electric Boys are Swedish, and originally hit the scene with a bang in 1989 with the release of their debut album “Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride”. A few years of success followed, then a hiatus of some 15 years until the original members got back together in 2009 and have continued to play and release records ever since. Their music tends to reflect that album title, it’s funky, groovy hippy rock usually.

Colour me surprised then when they hit the stage with a song I didn’t recognise but which was very LOUD and gave not so much a nod as a headbutt towards an AC/DC sound. Wow, way to go, guys! Lead singer Conny’s voice is sounding maybe a little strained, but he screams this one out with fervour and after an initial “wtf” moment the crowd follow him, smiling and nodding and moving to the music. We are then treated to some “old shit” (Conny’s words) as he changed guitars and threw ‘Groovus Maximus’, the title track from their 2nd album, at us. This is funky, almost jazzy (hold that thought, I’ll come back to you on that one) but with Conny throwing shapes and dancing in a manner that looks totally exhausting it still rocks. A brief snippet of ‘No Woman No Cry’ gets an enthusiastic singalong and segues nicely into “Mary In The Mystery World”. This is one of my favourite Electric Boys songs, with it’s almost Beatles vibe and laid-back lyric.

More songs follow, and even the chatterers at the bar have come down onto the floor but it’s still quite a poor turnout for a Friday night and it seems that even a win for England didn’t get people out of the house for some live music. However, that could also be because the band kind of veer off into a bit of uncharted territory and for a brief moment it all goes a bit – well do you remember the Jazz Oddessy scene from the Spinal Tap movie? That. It all went a bit that, with some somewhat self-indulgent widdly widdly guitaring between Conny and Franco. Bass player Andy even gets a nice sit down, and Niklas has taken the best beard of the year so far somewhere into the depths behind the drum riser. Thankfully this rather odd moment is soon over and we are back on track with some more upbeat songs and we sigh with relief as Conny flicks his scarves and beads around and wrings the neck of his battered guitar. ‘Electrified’ with its na-na-na-na chorus goes down well, and there may have been a little muppetry going on too – sshh, you had to be there! Some more new songs follow, including ‘Gone Gone Gone’ which is a bluesy paean to a much-missed friends, and the next single ‘You Spark My Heart’ which is a cracking slice of hard rock and even made my Grumpy Husband smile and tap a finger. We then get an old favourite ‘Rags To Riches’ and some more singing along, and a song which made me double take – did Conny just say it was called Angels in Rubber Suits? That sure sounds like what he’s singing…… I’m sure it’s not, I really must find out what it’s actually called at some point! Anyhow the band are introduced and Conny is in the crowd, letting them play his guitar then running it up and down the speaker stacks. I was stunned that it stayed in tune! A brief exit and then they are back to finish with ‘First The Money, Then The Honey’ and then finally That Song. Everyone knows ‘All Lips And Hips, and everyone erupts into movement and helps the band end the evening on a high. They gave us a cracking performance and if you get chance to see them in the coming months (the UK tour is done now but they have some summer festival dates coming up) I highly recommend that you do.

Words and Photography by Jo Crosby