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BUDGIE Kings Head,Fulham,London
18 December 2003

Well, after not visiting the capital in nigh on twenty years, the Welsh trio have now made the trip up the M4 three times in twelve months and an amazing twice in 2 weeks! It was therefore perhaps a little unsurprising that after playing a storming gig at the Mean Fiddler on December 5th, their rapid return in the midst of the festive season meant that the attendance for this particular gig was not all that great with maybe a 100 or so folks filling out the Kings Head in Fulham.

I timed my arrival so as to miss the support act, a band fronted by ex-Hangnail shouter Harry Armstrong, but unfortunately got there in time to endure their closing number. I never liked Hangnail as they played the sort of characterless post-grunge rock that filled the pages of Kerrang! in the mid nineties and which forced me to look abroad for decent music. This lot were even worse. Harry's distressed guitar wailed and produced the sort of sounds which might have been original around the time of Hendrix, yet seems rather out of place in these times. Absolutely ghastly!

After a short break, Budgie hit the stage and one was transported back 20 years or so in time, to an age where musicianship and musicality were considered more important than image. However time has not taken the edge off these guys and they produced an awesome set of old classics which were heavy yet soulful, bluesy yet made you want to dance. Burke Shelley still has the voice and pounds away on his bass, backed by Steve Williams on drums, while new axe slinger Simon Lees(??) plays his heart out, whether riffing or delivering yet another melodic bluesy solo.

The set seemed very similar to that which the band played when I saw them in January, with only a few song titles sticking in my head, including `In For The Kill' and `Nude Disintigrating Parachutist Woman'. Of course they had to return for an encore, playing a medley of much older material including my favourite song of theirs, `Parents' coupled with `Breadfan', both from the 1973's excellent `Never Turn Your Back on a Friend' disk. Much of the material played can be found on their current `Live in San Antonio' CD.

It was an excellent 90 minutes of classic rock music from a band who are very much a live act once again. It was a shame that Lars and the Metallica crew, (in town to play Earls Court this weekend), couldn't find the time to pop down to Fulham to see them play.

Review: Charlie Farrell

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