Monday, 2 November 2009

762 THE HI-FIDELS featuring DAVE GREGORY, Swindon Victoria, Thursday 11 December 2008

I rarely even attend local gigs featuring covers bands, much less include them in this gig book. However, when I picked up on this one, I penned it into my diary pronto. The guest guitarist on this particular covers band, you see, was to be none other than Dave Gregory, formerly of local heroes XTC, a band who stopped touring in 1982, a year after I rather stupidly turned down a ticket to see them at the Oasis, and a band cited as influences by a whole lot of our Boston rock friends!

So, intrigued and thankfully recovering from my recent tonsillitis, I trundled up the hill to join the curious throng at the heavily-renovated and considerably more spacious Vic back room. The Hi-Fidels, on at 9.30, trotted out some initially predictable but well-played covers ("Mr. Brightside", "Monster", "Message In A Bottle" et al) before Dave Gregory joined them at 10. Immediately the performance level increased, as a spine-tingling cover of Jeff Buckley's "Dream Brother" was trotted out. This remained my highlight, despite Dave's very impressive fretwork during a lengthy cover of King Crimson's "Red", until the band acquiesced to a couple of XTC covers! A jerky "Scissorman" was a rare delight, but the real jewel was to follow with a superbly rendered "Towers Of London", lush and languid, with the Hi-Fidels putting in their best work to augment Dave's superb guitar work.

This ended Mr. G's guest spot and the first part of the set, so I took this as a cue to leave, pausing to congratulate the great man, chew the cud on Boston Rock, and get the obligatory pic. So there it is!

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