Sunday, 13 May 2007

Different kind of Animals

Anyone who knows East Prawle will know the pub on the green, The Pig's Nose Inn, and most will be familiar with it's music nights. The landlord, Peter, has a history in the music industry, and his continued contacts enable him to bring some famous names to this tiny remote Devon village.

Past acts include Wishbone Ash, The Yardbirds (both regulars at the ' Nose), Paul Young and Dr Feelgood. Last night featured the second appearance there of The Animals (nowadays known as Animals and Friends), featuring their original drummer, John Steel, together with Peter Barton (bass & vocals), Johnny 'Guitar' Williamson (lead guitar & vocals) and Mickey Gallagher (keyboards).

I never saw the original Animals, having spent my childhood in New Zealand, but like most music lovers of my (and other) generations, their music is part of my psyche. From the opening "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", through to the encore, inevitably "House Of The Rising Sun", there was no doubt, this was the The Animals live. OK, no Eric Burdon in the lineup, but Peter Barton (Mindbenders, The Move) has all the power and raw rhythm and blues energy needed and more. Williamson belted out guitar solos, and Gallagher, who replaced Alan Price in The Animals in 1965, completed the authentic sound. But it was John Steel, who started out with Eric Burdon in 1957 with The Pagan Jazzmen who amazed me. Now 66 years old, and after 50 years in rock'n'roll, he clearly still enjoys every second on stage.

And that's the thing about gig's (or as they are called in Prawle, music nights) at the Pig's Nose. All generations are represented, both on stage (The Animals were supported last night by local teenage band, Cosmo), and in the audience. And whether they were teenagers, partying down in front of the stage, or pensioners, nodding their heads and shifting their feet to music they had partied to as teenagers, for all of them, this was live music as was supposed to be - totally real.