Sidewinder live at The Bell in Sawtry

Well fortunately it was a local gig I wandered down to last night as it was chucking it down, to see Sidewinder.


Sidewinder – (photos of band members courtesy of Designcat Photography)

As you will tell from the poster Heavy Metal – Cover Band – have I lost the plot? Well no, there are times when this space makes sense and although Eddie – the lead vocalist is someone I know and it is a local venue – as in a couple of hundred yards down the road – were that all to say I wouldn’t be asking you to break your day.

The six members of the band are all busy doing what they do with their lives, families, jobs etc. and decided to get back on the music bandwagon. The material they play is delivered with genuine enthusiasm and they are pretty sharp instrumentalists in their own right. I generally have an intense reaction to cover bands, akin to rolling around in stinging nettles, but Sidewinder avoid that po-faced ‘let’s get this over with’ that you far too often hear – delivering music which resonates of a genuine love of the material.

I also know there are some highly talented creators that sit in the mix, so I am writing about Sidewinder, partly as recognition of top-drawer talent, but more appositely to encourage them to throw away the song-sheets and start scribbling on blank pieces of paper to create their own musical legacy.

The Bell isn’t the easiest venue to negotiate, as it is a relatively narrow space with low ceilings and a small stage, in fact two of the players had to stand in-front of the stage to perform. The narrowness of the venue also means that sound is clotted the minute it comes in to the room, so it was no surprise that the vocals were sung with maximum echo, now there are plenty of experienced acts that would need a sound engineer to point that out, so technically they have it right, as well as instrumentally and vocally.

To an enthusiastic home crowd, they delivered a strong set in which although there were those guitar breaks which normally send me off to read a chapter of War and Peace before emerging back to the last 16 bars of the break, they carved up the songs intelligently, to manageable chunks.

Whether Sidewinder do decide to stay with covers, or strike their own version of Heavy Rock, one thing you can be sure of  is; a great night out – and for a nihilistic punk rocker – well – I guess that is what others would call a  - thumbs up.



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Pete Um | Portland Arms Cambridge
The Supernovas at Flowerpot Camden February 2010
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