Monday, 22 September 2014
Just under two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to watch and meet one of my personal musical heroes, Ray Davies, live at The Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank.
When I was a little girl, my Dad used to play my sister and I bands like The Stones, The Who, The Small Faces and The Kinks in the back of the car while he was doing 'The Knowledge' to be a London Taxi Driver. (It all sounds very rock n roll but my sister and I must have looked like two funny little squirts pulling up with our Dad and walking into greasy cafe's for a bacon butty with a load of other budding cockney Londoners haha). I remember the sky always seemed to look grey and dismal, matching the typically Working-Class cafe that we would go into full of middle-aged men sipping on their builder's brews and Full English Breakfasts. But the soundtrack to our journeys there and back added colour to those grey days and gave me some kind of excitement that I still get today when I hear great music and play music of my own.
As I said, one of those bands was The Kinks. The electric guitar riffs played by Dave Davies and growling vocals from Ray were so exciting to hear, even for a kid born in the early 1990's, nearly 30 years after those songs were first around. I suppose that's the mark of a great band and a great song - when there is an element that is so charismatic that it speaks to young people for generations to come. Something that sparks imagination, passion and hope.
Ray Davies has been widely credited over many years for his songwriting ability and with the help of his band, The Kinks, his contribution to modern music as we know it today. I mean, come on - he gave us the likes of All Day and All of the Night, Waterloo Sunset, Lola, Victoria, You Really Got Me, Sunny Afternoon...(need I go on?!). These songs have become part of what defines us as being quintessentially British, and for that, we hail you King Ray...
When my Dad told me that his friend Paul, who is Ray's Nephew, had managed to get us tickets to see him live, I was so excited. I had never seen him play live prior to this so I was looking forward to it a lot!
The Royal Festival Hall was filled to the brim with fans, many of which were couples who would have been teenagers or young adults in the 1960's when The Kinks were in their prime. There couldn't have been a better venue for these fans to revisit their nostalgic youth than here, overlooking Waterloo's very own sunset on a sunny evening at the end of Summer.
Ray Davies gave an energetic and powerful set the whole way through, full of iconic Kinks songs, much to the audience's joy. There were also plenty of scissor-kicks might I add, proving that Rock n Roll has no age restrictions! (So there's no reason why you can't do the Splits, Nan! hehe). The band were super tight and really complimented everything that Ray played/sang. The gig felt almost like a Production, which if I knew before the gig, I would have turned my nose up at the thought of, but it worked so brilliantly with Ray reading certain stories from his life and book, Americana, between every few songs.
The band finished up the set and made their way backstage for a quick drink and rest before coming back for not just one encore, but TWO! Who'd have thought it? Certainly not them! The crowd were truly loving the set and clearly just didn't want the night to end. (Myself included!)
After the musician's finally got some well earned rest after the show, Paul took us backstage to meet Ray himself. Now I was extremely concerned that I would make an idiot of myself and go too 'fan-girl' on him by getting verbal diarrhoea and saying something stupid (haha), but all went very smoothly and I was extremely flattered when Ray told me that he liked my music! To think!!
So all is well and I am content in knowing that one of my personal musical heroes that I grew up listening to, likes my music...now off to write some more...!