"The Joint Was Jumping" Some bands working the pub circuit simply go through the motions every weekend playing two sets of music in virtually the same order every time. They have little rapport with their audiences and take a long interval between sets.
At the other end of the spectrum there are bands like the Sound Of The Suburb. Here are five guys who work their socks off, look as if they are having a great time and have great rapport with pubgoers.
And what a joy they are to watch. Firstly, SOTS look like a professional band -- all dressed in black shirts with matching flame red ties. Their lighting effects are outstanding and well above the average standard. And, most importantly, they work really hard.
SOTS have a great front man in David Maraney, a larger-than-life character who exudes charm and personality. David encourages the audience to dance and chats to them regularly between songs.
Behind David are four hugely talented musicians. Chris Berlingieri, on lead guitar, looks like he's having a great time; while keyboards man Mike Shilling, bass player Steve Phillips and new drummer Paul Steedman are all highly skilled musicians who are adept at recreating the sound on hit records.
At Maddens in East Finchley (the place where it all began for this band), where I saw them, the quintet performed a back-breaking three sets. They kicked off the first set with Stealer's Wheels' catchy Stuck In The Middle With You and a novel interpretation of the Easybeats' 1967 rocker Friday On My Mind.
There was a whole lotta soul in the first set -- with favourites like Mustang Sally, Soul Man and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas' Heatwave. And it was nice (and highly unusual) to see dancers at such an early stage of the evening. The band were even brave enough to perform one of their own songs -- C'Mon C'Mon, from their album Still Waiting.
No long breaks here and ten minutes later the five of them were back on stage with two Chris Isaak classics Wicked Game and Blue Hotel.
A stomping version of the Surfaris' instrumental Wipe Out (featuring drummer Paul) led into a feast of rock 'n roll which had the dancefloor packed. Classic after classic followed with Runaway, That's Alright Mama, Tutti Frutti, The Wanderer, Great Balls Of Fire and the Stray Cats' Rock This Town. The joint was jumping for a whole set.
Such attention to detail is paid by Sound Of The Suburb that they even have a change of costumes between sets.
And ten minutes later they were bounding on stage again with their own interpretation of Cher's sixties' success Bang Bang (with great vocals from David). The band then embarked on a seventies' sojourn with pounders like the Sweet's glam rock smash Ballroom Blitz; the Bowie double of Jean Genie and Rebel Rebel; and the Clash's punkers Should I Stay Or Should I Go and London's Calling.
SOTS did an encore of the Rolling Stones' Honky Tonk Woman but I'm sure the Maddens' crowd would have been happy if they had done a fourth and fifth set.
But, by now, after nearly three and a half hours, the band probably needed a rest (or a long lie down in a dark room).
A cracking evening from a cracking band of musicians.
"Sound of the Suburb made our Dancing Party a great success. Everyone of every age from 20 to 60 plus danced away. All the thank yous after our party were to say what a brilliant band they were and how clever we were to find them!" Jan H. - Host of Bush Hall Gig on 20th May 2017
"Absolutely marvellous music. I don't know where you found the band, but they were outstanding. A really tight, hard-working, energised "rock 'n' roll band". They were wonderful to dance to." Clive B. - Attendee at Bush Hall Gig on 20th May 2017
"If I'm going to have to dance (and my wife made it clear that I did) then that's the kind of music I want to dance to" Attendee at Bush Hall Gig on 20th May 2017
"I had forgotten how much I love dancing and how good it is for the spirit. The band were absolutely brilliant" Attendee at Bush Hall Gig on 20th May 2017
“We heard Sound of the Suburb performing at a gig and thought it would be good if they could play at our joint 50th birthday party. What a great decision! They were very professional from start to finish providing their playlist and adding new songs just for us. The music was fabulous; David has a great voice and the songs were performed with energy and style. Everyone was dancing and the party was all that we had hoped for. After the party lots of our friends complimented the band and asked for their details. We could not have asked for more.” Leslie & Andrea S. - Surrey KT10
Dear David, I’m writing to say a huge thank you to you and all your band members for playing at our event last night. There have been lots of compliments about the music and I thought you found a great blend suited to a very mixed audience with both the pre and post awards playing.
Thank you again and we look forward to hearing you play again at future events. I would be very happy to recommend you to others so please feel free to use me as a reference as you see fit. A huge thank you! Richard Richard Scarth Director of Operations Royal Free Charity
Sound of the Suburb made my birthday party. They are hugely charismatic and we were dancing all night. Friends were saying how great the band was for weeks afterwards. They’re a lot of fun – great rock n roll. I’ve seen them play at loads of venues from pubs to synagogues and they’re always brilliant. They came early to set up and checked the playlist with me in advance. But honestly whatever they play is brilliant – high energy, roof-raising and with just enough edge. A very talented bunch of guys. Hugely enjoyable. Naomi G - London N12
I had the band 'Sound of the Suburb' come highly recommended to me by a member of staff team at the Royal Free Hospitals voluntary services. We made some enquiries and decided to book the band for the annual Barnet and Chase Farm Volunteer party, that was held in October of this year. The band members were organised and easy to communicate with prior to the event, and on the night, what a wonderful band they turned out to be! They literally made the party extra special! We had guests with ages ranging from there 20s to the 90s up dancing to their very well played, classic rock and roll tunes. The singer, well what a voice!, with great charisma and energy, wow. The band complimented the singer and they were all in perfect unison, playing pitch perfect every tune. These guys really are a very talented group of musicians and a great band with great energy, they had us up dancing all of the night. We’d made no secret of the fact we would love to book them again and again. We are looking forward to next year’s volunteer party already ;). Elaine Donnellon Voluntary Services Manager Royal Free Hospital.
A great band who I've seen in the past: heading at The East Finchley Festival, 3 years running at Brookland School Annual Fete, The Brookland Rise street party and Maddens wine Bar. Different moves for every show. In May, outdoors, they were like the Shadows with slick practiced moves and a lot of rock and roll songs we all knew. JonnyBGoode is my favourite. At East Finchley it seemed more of their own songs and a louder music range to suit the Festival style stage. They all seem to be having a lot of fun. Brian I. NW11
Thank you so much for playing at my party last Saturday – you were incredible and everyone loved you! One of my friends has already requested you play at her wedding... It was an awesome night, made even awesom-er by you. Rosie S. N2
I have hired Sound of the Suburb on a number of occasions for corporate and social events and they always deliver a rocking great time. Their covers are real crowd pleasers and get people of all ages up and dancing. Even when they play originals you could swear you're hearing old favourites. Highly recommend. Caryn B. (North London)
Sound of the Suburb are a good dancing band. They have played at a number of parties I have organised and most notably for many years now the Grasmere Road Street Party. Their playlist includes many rock tunes by artists you will recognise such as the Rolling Stones. They have a new lead singer who has added a Blues dimension. Shelley S. Muswell Hill, London N10
Thank you so much for a wonderful evening of entertainment at our ball. Your band were very professional from the moment you walk in, arriving early and courteous to everyone. The music was very energetic and people have been talking about how much fun they had weeks after the event, thanks to your band, We had many people who have other functions coming up who asked me for your details, which did not surprise me. You made the ball a great success. Shara C.