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Stripes Bar, Brentford FC 2 April 2004

Cellar Door were playing their debut gig and featured a White Stripes style line-up - juts a guitarist/vocalist and drummer. They had bought along a following of vocal and enthusiastic followers and proceeded to play a set of covers (including Hendrix) and original tracks. Short set and you could tell nerves played a part but with a few more live outings they could develop into a band for the future. Not so sure about the band's name though...

Casual Affair made a name locally in the west London area during the 80's before calling it a day in the early 90's. This was only the band's second gig since reuniting late last year with the line-up of Mark Colton (vocals), Mike Mishra (guitar), Barry Nuthall (keys/vocals), Carl Sampson (drums) and Neil Matthars (bass/vocals). They had drawn in a lot of old fans (including one who was proudly wearing a Casual Affair t-shirt which he'd bought twelve years ago and this was his first chance to wear it!) and it was a healthy sized crowd by the time the band began with 'Reflections'.

They played a very tight set and you wouldn't think it was over twelve years since they last played regularly. Highlights included 'Whisper In The Wind', which is classic piece of prog rock meets AOR, a lively 'Play With Fire' and the band's slowed down version of Thin Lizzy's 'Don't Beleive A Word'.

The band are hard to pigeonhole as they have progressive rock tracks with Mark Colton sounding not unlike Fish (less the Scots accent of course!) and then come out with big rock anthems, driven along by the very accomplished guitar sounds of Mike Mishra. Encore time was 'Perfect Timing', the band's single and still available to buy on the night in all it's vinyl glory.

The band seemed to enjoy the night as much as the audience, with plenty of onstage banter including the worrying fact that many songs aired tonight were written before either of the support band were born!

A good night of music all round and only time will tell whether this reunion is a one-off or hopefully a more permanent endeavour.

Review: Jason Ritchie

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