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9th Small Faces Convention 2005 - The 40th Anniversary
9th October 2005, The Marquee, Leicester Square, London.
To celebrate 40 years since the first Small Faces single, the annual Small Faces Convention moved to the Marquee in Leicester Square. Ironically, this was just around the corner from Leicester Square's Cavern Club, scene of the first Small Faces gig. The much larger venue than the Ruskin Arms allowed many more Small Faces fans to attend the Convention although it appeared that the Central London location meant that more had to leave before the end of the evening to catch trains.
On arriving at the Marquee, Leicester Square was packed and it seemed that the Small Faces Convention was much busier than usual. Crowds were shouting for actor Colin Firth who was signing autographs. However, he did not have a ticket for the Marquee and was thus refused entrance.
This is the Marquee's fourth incarnation. While it is able to hold many more people, the positioning of the stage meant that it was very difficult for most people to be able to view the bands playing. Furthermore, the bar was dire with a lack of beer (Foster's doesn't count) and highly inflated prices. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all and there was plenty of dancing and singing along with the bands. This was also the occasion to launch the paperback version of It's All Too Beautiful, the biography of Steve Marriott by John Hellier and Paulo Hewitt as well as the brand new Here Come the Nice, a Small Faces songbook featuring fifteen songs compiled by Paul Weller and John Hellier.
The evening's bands were a mixture of Convention favourites and those who are new to the event. The latter category included Psycho Babble and Darron J Connet, both of whom went down well, kicking off proceedings to, probably, the largest audience of the evening. Dan's People made an overdue return to the Convention and played an excellent set including a rare outing for Tim Hardin's If I Were a Carpenter. By the very nature of its rarity, this was the highlight of the evening. An empty stomach and the lure of Chinatown meant that I missed Boss. They have become Convention favourites with excellent sets at the Ruskin in 2003 and 2004.
Small World almost brought the Marquee to the ground with a very powerful set which showed them building upon their recent performances at Conventions and the Ronnie Lane Memorial Concert. They were followed by the ever-reliable 17Black who produced a strong set of their own before welcoming a series of guests. The first of these was a horn section which enabled versions of Happy Boys Happy and Wide Eyed Girl on the Wall. Next on stage was Buzzcocks' Steve Diggle who performed his usual Here Come the Nice although not without forgetting some of the words! He was followed by Glen Matlock who took over on bass for What'Cha Gonna Do About It while Mollie Marriott and Tonya Marriott sang backing vocals. Chris Farlowe followed up his 2004 appearance with versions of All or Nothing and Tin Soldier.
The final band was the Mods complete with The Jones Gang's Gary Grainger on guitar. This was the Mods' first Convention appearance and they played an excellent set although the fact that timing was running late meant that many had disappeared to catch the last train home by this stage.
All in all, another excellent Small Faces Convention and roll on 2006.
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