The Victoria Inn is a nice smallish pub near the train station in Derby, with a 150 capacity back room for live music. The sort of venue that needs to be kept for live bands to learn their trade and get a good following behind them. Unfortunately, Derby City Council thinks that the best future for the Victoria Inn is commercial redevelopment. This to my mind means more empty offices with To Let signs stuck on the out side. How this is makes it a redeveloped area is anyone’s guess!
Anyway, back to the review. The venue tonight was warm and welcoming after the freezing 20-minute route march from the bus station. I paid my money, got my hand stamped and relaxed with my pint and waited for the first band.
The venue was populated with a cross section of the rock community, ranging from young girls in London Calling T-shirts to hairy ageing rockers, plus members of the Tokyo Dragons, chillin’ at the bar.
The first band, (billed as) The Atoms, sounded a little punky and threw in a couple of cover versions towards the end of the set. However, they failed to raise me from my seat next to the warm radiator and get me to venture into the back room.
I went into the back room for the next band (billed as), The Fallen Story, but only because the toilets are behind the stage. One look at this lot and I was immediately put off by the bassists “It’s A Kind Of Magic” Queen T-Shirt and made a quick exit. This is probably a little unfair but snap judgements are often made on what people wear and that kind of wear my heart upon my chest syndrome put me straight off. If it had been a “Jazz” T-Shirt I would have hung about for a longer impression.
A few pints later, it was time for the main event and so back into the gig room, together with my plastic glass (it felt like Glastonbury) I went. I don’t remember the Tokyo Dragons taking to the stage, they seemed to be already there. As if they’d always been there.
After a few “Hello Derby” and “How ya doin’?”s they plunged into the second track from their debut album “Give Me The Fear”, “Get ‘Em Off”. Steve Lomax appeared to be having some bother with his Mic as a roadie made a number of appearances to stop it all falling apart.
The Levellers leave the stage and Boaksey appears (dressed in a brown suit and minus his usual face paint), playing his Didgeridoo, which leads into my favourite, “One Way”. Then “Plastic Jeezus”!
We got rip-roaring versions of “Come On Baby”, “Teenage Screamers” (with a lot of audience participation) and “Burn On”, as well as a new song which was introduced as “And now for something completely different”.
The band were having a great time, climbing on the monitors and generally jumping around as best they could in the limited space available on The Vic’s tiny stage.
We then got an encore of “Ready Or Not” and “Rockin’ The Stew”, before the band exited stage right for a well earned pint or two and I headed to the bar for an after gig JD’s and coke for warmth on the way home.
My personal highlight was “Do You Wanna”, to which the whole place seemed to rock out.
I was speaking to a bloke before the gig who said that he’d seen the Tokyo Dragons at the same venue in May last year and was very impressed. He couldn’t believe they were back at the same venue eight months on because they were that good (“…and only six quid”).
I have to agree. What a band of this calibre is doing still playing to such a small audience is beyond me.
Mathias Stady, the bassist, was at the bar afterwards, signing stuff and generally chatting to the punters. Great show. Great friendly band. Buy their CD and get them noticed. They deserve it.
Setlist; What the Hell / Get ‘Em Off / Johnny Don’t Wanna Ride / Come On Baby / Teenage Screamers / Burn On / New Song / Let It Go / Do U Wanna / Rockin’ The Stew / — / Ready Or Not / On Fuel