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12th Small Faces Convention 2008
Sunday 21 September 2008, The Carling Academy, Islington, London. 4-11pm
The Small Faces Convention goes from strength to strength. The Carling Academy is proving to be an excellent venue with good stage views, easy parking and plenty of space. However, the name does give a clue that you need to go outside for a decent beer as the venue only serves over-priced, bland, fizzy low-quality beer. This means that the constant performances and quick turnarounds means that you miss some of the action if you do go for a pint (or a curry)!
17 Black started the event off in style. The band has played the most Conventions and has frequently been last on the bill, sometimes playing to an emptying venue! With Dean Rees adding his Hammond sound this was a superb set. Itchycoo Park made a nod to The Jam's That's Entertainment and When You're Young. Dean Rees took over the vocals for a tribute to his late mother, Humble Pie's Wrist Job showing off his Hammond skills and that he is not a bad singer. Connett (Darren J and Graham) joined the band for Shake before 17 Black provided probably the surprise of the evening. In recent Conventions the band has tried something different, introducing horns for Wide Eyed Girl on the Wall in 2006. This year 17 Black went back to pre-Small Faces days with two tracks from The Moments. Due for release on an EP the following day, the band played Money and The Kinks' You Really Got Me in the Moments style.
A number of bands were new to the Convention. RT3 have received rave reviews with a superb version of PP Arnold's (If You Think You're) Groovy.
Small World are Convention regulars and produced another great set with one of the surprises of the evening. Melanie Hellier, daughter of organiser John, joined the band for a superb version of What'Cha Gonna Do About It.
The Small Fakers were eagerly anticipated. Those who had not seen the band live had heard that this was the closest thing to the East End Fab Four that you are likely to find. The band did not disappoint. In full Marriott gear, Matt Bond and the rest of the band were on superb form and delivered a blistering set that culminated in the rarely-played E Too D. Steve Marriott even joined them on stage - Stephen Marriott is the nephew of the great, little man and moved on from his previous Convention singing spot with guitar on What'Cha Gonna Do About It. This brought a huge cheer from the crowd, especially from those who had seen him a few years earlier.
The special guests this year were Secret Affair. The band was one of the top 1979 Mod Revival groups, scoring a number of chart hits. Recently reformed, a Small Faces-only set was promised. This followed the appearance in 2006 by guitarist Dave Cairns. Dave and Ian Page remain the original Secret Affair. The set started with Tim Hardin's If I Were a Carpenter, a track covered by the Small Faces. This was a Convention rarity and, as such, went down well with the crowd. The band played a powerful set, culminating in a storming version of Humble Pie's I Don't Need No Doctor. Dave Cairns continued to demonstrate that the guitar should be treated as a weapon. Not quite a Small Faces set but no-one was complaining.
Once again it was a superb Convention, many saying the best one yet. Let's all look forward to 2009.
The full band list:
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