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Tyla’s Dogs D’amour - The Fulford Arms, York 01.08.2019

Tyla’s Dogs D’amour are celebrating the 30th anniversary of “A Graveyard Of Empty Bottles”, their classic acoustic mini album. Following the re-recording of the album with the current line-up and the subsequent release on glorious 10” vinyl, the band are doing a series of live dates. Joining them on this ‘Weekend Of Empty Bottles’ jaunt are South London reprobates The Dirty Strangers.

Recently it seems the gigs keep getting hotter and so do the bands. The Fulford Arms is already a sweat pit as The Dirty Strangers take to the stage. With a guitar, bass, drums and keyboards set up, the 4 piece band from Shepherd’s Bush entertain with the likes of ‘Bad Girls’ and ‘Gold Cortina’.

Singer Alan Clayton keeps us smiling between songs with his witty, cockney banter. Clayton has kept The Dirty Strangers alive for 30 years now, still releasing quality albums such as ‘West 12 To Wittering’ and ‘Crime And A Woman’. Their dirty take on Rock ‘n’ Roll sits somewhere between The Heartbreakers and The Blockheads and to me that’s a good place to be. The growing crowd certainly dig it. A great opening band that are worth exploring more.

You could say I am a bit spoilt having one of my favourite artists play at my local pub so frequently. Even though Tyla now resides in Edinburgh, guitarist Gaz lives in York and they record here. The Fulford Arms has become a sort of spiritual homecoming venue I guess. The gigs here are always rowdy, sweaty affairs and tonight it is no different.

Fans in the packed out venue are treated to 2 sets tonight. The first an acoustic celebration to ‘A Graveyard Of Empty Bottles’, the second a full electric greatest hits. The Wolverhampton wonderer doesn’t really seem to age, he always looks like a drunken, dishevelled pirate that someone has dragged out of the nearest watering hole to perform. Dressed in pinstriped trousers and matching waistcoat, an oversized shirt and floppy hat, the legendary troubadour joins guitarist Gaz and bassist Matty on bar stools for a run through of some much loved, but rarely played songs.

Tyla swigs from a bottle of red and tells jokes between songs, exchanging witty banter with drummer Simon Hanson, who keeps asking if they can play one of his now. I don’t recall if Tyla has ever performed the whole of this album at gig before, but it does feel special hearing these songs live. The likes of the bluesy opener, ‘Comfort Of The Devil’, a dark and brooding ‘Bullet Proof Poet’ and a euphoric ‘I Think It's Love Again’ sound fantastic and get the crowd singing along. They even throw in a couple of tracks form the recent ‘In Vino Veritas' album for good measure to close the first half of the show.

The band take a well deserved break and so does most of the audience (it is so hot in here!), and the stage is set for the full band electric set. Strapping on his trusty Gretsch, our hero stands stage front and leads his band through a short greatest hits set. The heat levels rise, the euphoria levels rise and so does the volume of the crowd, singing back every word. The likes of ’Billy Two Rivers’, ‘Last Bandit’ and ‘I Don’t Want You To Go’ are greeted like old friends, as the band and audience get lost in the music. If those at the bar looked carefully, they could probably see Tyla’s arms on many occasions as he seemingly holds the Fulford ceiling up, between playing chords. Other times they will see nothing as he is on his back on the floor or sitting on an amp jamming away. At one point during the closing song, I swear I saw him yawn. We were struggling in the heat, so god knows how the band coped under the stage lights.

The band gave it their all and we all came away happy and ready for the next time. Tomorrow it’s Saturday and they do a full acoustic set in London followed by a full electric set the next night at The Lexington. London you are in for a treat as this band is on fire right now.

Review - Ben Hughes

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