The Borderline in London is such a great little venue, tucked away in a backstreet in the shadow of the Centre Point tower and surrounded by the seemingly never-ending demolition / construction work. It is an oasis of calm and good music and the ideal location to launch ‘Westward Ho!’ the new album from Police Dog Hogan.
Opening tonight’s show are the acoustic folk – country duo Bo Lucas and Hayleigh King aka Lucas & King. The Brighton based act, fresh from a series of shows opening for Kinks legend Ray Davies, played a short set of fine, gentle songs. The girls have some very nice harmonies and it works really well with a sole acoustic guitar although the option of lap steel accompaniment that was mentioned sounds like a terrific idea. Although I wasn’t previously familiar with the material, it would have been hard not to be impressed with tracks such as ‘Crazy Heart’ boding well for their forthcoming album on the Union Music Store label due early next year.
Police Dog Hogan took to the stage, which is no easy feat with eight band members and proceeded to play a great set of classics old and new. The material delivered with consummate musicianship, and no little humour, as frontman James Studholme assured the crowd that this show was their Wembley Stadium. Songs aired included the infectious ‘Shitty White Wine’ with its “tastes like turpentine” lyric that never fails to make me smile and ‘A Man Needs a Shed’ an ode for people of a certain age with its plucked fiddle was another winner. ‘No Wonder She Drinks’ hit the spot as one of many songs, including the new single, ‘Thunderheads’ to feature Trumpeter Emily Norris. The addition of trumpet to the sound is a masterstroke and her voice works beautifully with the, already very strong, harmonies in which Police Dog Hogan excel. The band left us with a rousing version of the Hank Williams standard ‘I Saw The Light’ as we rushed to meet a 10.30 curfew.
The Lewes, East Sussex based Union Music Store label have a couple of winners on their books here. If either act pop up in your town a good night is guaranteed.