29 May 2008

Groundhogs at The Eel Pie Club


The Groundhogs were one those bands that I read about in the 70s but never got to hear much of their music (in those days we relied on taping our friends' records and on Radio 1's limited rock output) so I welcomed the opportunity to see them playing locally.

The Eel Pie Club has a long and distinguished history dating back to the early 60s. The venue has changed over the years and its current home is above the Cabbage Patch pub in Twickenham. The venue betrays its "upstairs bar" heritage and makes few concessions in becoming a live music venue. The main viewing area is quite small but experience gained at many concerts enabled me to shuffle my way gradually to the front.

The Groundhogs are a traditional power-trio (like Cream etc.) and reply heavily on their front-man, which is OK because that's Tony McPhee and he can play! Most of the songs seem to be little more than a few threads in which to tie guitar solos together so if you like guitar solos (I do!) then Groundhogs are your sort of band.

It is always unfair to compare one guitarist with another but as Tony McPhee is not necessarily that well known I'll offer Robin Trower as a simile as he plays with a lot of slide and extensive use of the tremolo arm.

The Groundhogs made gloriously loud noises for the best part of two hours before leaving us with our happy memories to go and find a bus home and the result of the England game.

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