I’m fast running out of superlatives.

ut tonight was all about Graham Day & The Forefathers and the official launch of their new album “Good Things” which was being snapped up all night by eager fans from a merchandise table groaning under the weight of State Records goodies. Wolf is positioned right at the front centre stage despite there being a proper drum riser which is unusual for the sort of venues I normally go to. In fact it's not a great venue, it's more of a soul-less school hall with a very high stage, which must be almost 6 foot high. I suppose this is fine to get a view from the back but for a band such as Graham Day & The Forefathers, who have gone on record as saying they prefer more intimate gigs, this is not ideal. Wolf is flanked by Graham and Allan on either side and it looks good, I like it when drummers are pushed to the front, it adds a different dynamic to the proceedings. 

 

Graham Day & The Forefathers by Paul Slattery
Unsurprisingly we get pretty much all of the track-listing off the new album and they blast off with the only Prime Movers track to make the grade, the title track “Good Things”, which bristles with pure Stooges raw power. Its The Solarflares songs that feature heaviest in the set, which suits me as I think the quality of that period is second to none. We are treated to tracks from each of the Solarflares albums including “Mary”, “You Always Find a Way To Hurt Me” a vicious “Sucking Out My Insides” and “You Want Blood” which are all faultless and go down a storm with the crowd. Such is the quality of The Solarflares material that even a B-Side makes the cut rather than a more well known Prisoners track and we get a storming version of “Open Your Eyes” which was the flip to the 7” single “Reflections”. From The Prisoners it’s tracks from “The Last Fourfathers” album that dominate, “Whenever I’m Gone”, a soaring “Thinking of You (Broken Pieces)” one of the best love songs ever written, and the set closer “I Am The Fisherman”. In between we get a scathing “Be On Your Way” which spits vitriol and proves that the unfairly treated “In From The Cold” album certainly had it’s good points and then there’s “Love Me Lies” from "Wisermiserdemelza".
Wolf Howard & Allan Crockford - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog 2014
Rather like The Soundtrack of Our Lives with their similarly impressive back catalogue, Graham Day knows how to write songs which at first listen might seem to wear their influences quite prominently on their sleeves. But what at first might seem familiar soon grows into something fresh, vital and always contemporary. These are songs that cross genres and generations, they are songs that run the gamut of all emotions and moods. Whether it is the upbeat soul of "Deceiving Eye", the moving and powerful "Mary" or the all out heads-down Garage Punk blast of "Sucking Out My Insides", these are basically classic, timeless songs that deserve to be lauded as much as anything written by those other great British song-writers Weller, Marriott, Davies and Townshend.

Graham Day by Paul Slattery
Unfortunately, I missed the encore as I was in "discussions" with a bouncer as the security company decided to line them up in front of the stage facing us as though it were the last minutes of a football match. It did make it all a bit uncomfortable and a real dampener on the end of the gig for me. As anybody that was there would attest, the crowd were extremely good natured, there wasn’t one hint of aggression – and I am sure that a very large proportion would have had great difficulty in invading the high stage even if they wanted to! I really didn’t understand the security company’s totally unnecessary and negative policy. After hearing of some other people's similarly negative experiences I did write to the promoter who graciously said he would pass on my comments to the security company and I hope they improve their set-up and learn some common sense.
Graham Day, Wolf Howard & Allan Crockford - The Forefathers by Paul Slattery

I’ve written so much about Graham Day & The Forefathers recently that I’m fast running out of superlatives. I have been so all-consumed by the band since they decided to get together to celebrate the back catalogue of Graham Day written material that I find myself quickly losing patience and interest in most other music. It’s getting to feel like an all out addiction and tonight could well be my last glorious fix for some time. After their forthcoming sold out gig in Dublin it’s anybody’s guess what will happen to the band. As much as I'd love this to run and run, I do understand somewhat reluctantly, that there is only so far The Forefathers can go, there’s only so much regular playing of old material that will satisfy band and audience alike. Given that the whole concept of The Forefathers is pretty much a fan’s dream come true, it was somewhat ironic that one of the first questions people asked me when they knew I was going to interview Graham, Allan and Wolf for Retrosonic Podcast was “ask them when they are going to release some new material”. After all, with his last pre-Forefathers outfit The Gaolers, Graham’s song-writing, guitar playing and singing had evolved into something really quite special, and you can only imagine what amazing new songs might be buzzing round his head right now. Allan is singer, songwriter and guitarist in his own superb band The Galileo 7 and he might want to concentrate on this for a while, especially as he has a quite brilliant album “False Memory Lane” to promote. Wolf too is busy with his art and photography and involvement with Billy Childish & The CTMF who are about to release a new album on Damaged Goods Records. I’d like to hope that in the future, regardless of whatever individual paths Graham, Allan and Wolf do take, that The Forefathers could pop up every now and then to give us that fix. But now is the time to just enjoy it while it lasts, to kneel in the presence of these mighty songs, bow down before them and repeat the mantra “we are not worthy…!”

Graham Day by Paul Slattery
Steve Worrall