Last Great Dreamers have been around since 1989, initially called Silver Hearts, they changed their name to Last Great Dreamers in 1993, were nominated for Best New Band at Kerrang MTV Awards in 1995, where they came runner up to Skunk Anansie before changing their name to Jet/Jet City and finally calling it a day in 1997, read a more detailed biography here. First I heard of them was when I noticed that some friends of mine were going to see them in Bolton, a month or so ago. Couldn’t make that gig but I watched a few videos on You Tube and liked them so found myself heading to Blackpool to see them on what started off as a pleasant sunny Sunday afternoon, before becoming a cold cold night! My first visit to The Waterloo Music Bar in Blackpool, which turned out to be a decent sized pub with a bowling green attached, about ten minutes walk from Blackpool Pleasure Beach, selling a vast range of beers, wines and spirits for reasonable prices. The band played in an area to the left as you walk in and the sound and lighting was pretty good for a pub venue.
Last Great Dreamers came on stage a few minutes late and Marc explained why when he announced ‘Hello Blackpool! Just finished our chips, sorry we’re a bit late’ but no one seemed to mind as chips are best eaten hot! Opening their set with Crash Landing in Teenage Heaven the title track from their second album. Marc Valentine an expressive and engaging front man, with the looks of the late Marc Bolan (giving you some idea what Marc might have looked liked in his mid forties if his life hadn’t been tragically cut short by a car crash). The band have a similar style to some of the great Rock n Roll bands of the sixties like The Kinks or The Beatles but with a more modern, Tyla or The Quireboys twist, think jeans, suit jackets, patterned shirts and ties, and hats which tonight ranged in height, Denley had ditched his, but Ian was sporting a peaked beret, Marc a bowler and Slyder a top hat with feathers! Another track from the same album followed in No 1 Wonderboy which reminded me of Kim Wilde’s Kids In America. Hello started with a clash of drumsticks, a mellower song one with a Beatles vibe. Far From Home and Lunacy Lady reminiscent of The Kinks. Ian played his bass slung quite low but was often holding it aloft, or he was stood on the drum riser. The band were covering the stage well. Denley, obviously, had to remain seated but managed to throw in a few drumstick twirls.
Marc then announced ‘One off Retrosexual, especially for lovers, Only Crime‘ a fast one with some great riffs and a driving beat. Then after some applause he said ‘Thanks guys this is the B Side off our last single (Dope School), it’s only available on CD, White Light, Black Heart‘ with Marc singing lead and Slyder doing the majority of backing vocals the pair harmonised well. Marc got up on the drum riser and leapt off before announcing ‘OK Blackpool, this is like The Voice but more Rock ‘n’ Roll if we like it you get cocaine.’ and at the end he said ‘You guys are pretty good, you sang better than us’ Now whether or not the good singers got cocaine I can’t say, all I can say is that I didn’t, but then I’m better writer than singer, so I suppose my singing just didn’t cut it! Marc said he’d like to thank Ian and Mark (who own the pub) for putting them on and added that it was great to have a venue like this with great hospitality and he hoped they would put them on again then, almost as an aside, he said ‘even if not many people in’ and it’s fair to say that it wasn’t particularly busy with only about twenty people there. Although Ian (one of the owners) said afterwards that a few people who would ordinarily go to the gigs had gone off in a couple of minibuses to see ELO in Manchester. Marc, said it was warmer up there then it looked, especially for men of a certain age anyway! His words not mine! They could have worn less, we wouldn’t have minded! Then came Supernature Natural and a ‘Thanks guys we don’t often play that one. Enjoyed it’.
Gold Plated Butterfly reminded me of some of the great Manc bands, I’m thinking something along the lines of Sally Cinnamon by The Stone Roses. Then we got a debut as Marc told us that it was going to be the first time they played the next one live, and he said something about a dream and a mountain of spoons, I didn’t catch everything he said, but you can find out more about the spoons in the interview I did with Marc and Slyder before the show here. The song being The Way We Collide a good one which had a couple of people up dancing. A guy in an AC/DC t-shirt and a girl, a bit punky looking, with short blonde hair. I mention this as rock covers many genres, I like AC/DC and I like punk, and I liked Last Great Dreamers and whilst I didn’t know this song, they were both singing along, so obviously knew it well. Aterwards Marc said ‘Thanks guys. First time we played it.’ Next came came the first one of the two songs I had heard before Glitterball Apocalypse which is a bit Hi Ho Silver Lining by Jeff Beck meets The Kinks’ Dedicated Follower of Fashion. The couple were still dancing and I would have joined in, if I hadn’t been writing! More drumstick twirls from Denley then came Ashtray Eyes followed by Last Great Dreamer the song from which they got their name, a bit Doors-y. At one point Marc was kneeling and Slyder crouching, clashing guitar strings. Then like all great dreams, at some point they have to end and, this one finished with Dope School which reminded me of For Your Love by The Yardbirds but think of it done by The Monkees and you get the idea. A good set from Last Great Dreamers, if you like bands like The Kinks or The Beatles and glam rock like T-Rex or Slade go and see them, if you get chance, and make their dream come true!
Last Great Dreamers are currently on tour with Tigertailz with five dates remaining so, depending on where you live, you may not have to wait long for a local show.
Crash Landing in Teenage Heaven
No. 1 Wonderboy
Far From Home
White Light, Black Heart
Gold Painted Butterfly
The Way We Collide
Last Great Dreamer
Marc Valentine – Vocals, Guitar
Slyder – Guitar, Vocals
Ian Scruffykid – Bass
Denley Slade – Drums.