Did Chas Hodges Pull A Rabbit Out Of His Hat ?

On Saturday evening my wife and I, along with my sister, visited the White Rock Theatre in Hastings.  The entertainment for the evening was to be Chas Hodges, he of Chas & Dave fame.

The theatre was nowhere near full. The potential capacity is 1066 people but there were probably only around 60 folks putting bums on seats.

At around 19:30 our bizarre evening began.

If anyone made an announcement I missed it but a bunch of guys walked out onto the stage and took up positions. The band started playing but I had no idea who we were watching. All I could tell was that they were apparently doing cover versions of Lonnie Donegans songs. After a couple of numbers, the lead singer started regaling us with anecdotes liberally sprinkled with “my dad did …” and “when my father…” and so on. Suddenly the penny dropped, we were being entertained by Son of Donegan.

Well of course he did all the standards and we had a sing along and tapped our feet but, even back in the day, Lonnie Donegans voice was a bit of a trial. I wouldn’t, by choice, listen to one Donegan record followed by another. Peter Donegans voice is very similar to his dads. I liked the instrumental breaks best of all as they are all very competent musicians.

Apart from the vocals the other big detractor for me during there performance was the two dickheads in the row behind ours. They paid good money to see a show,  then proceeded to talk all the time. Strange thing was that they shut up when the music stopped. Anyway, I couldn’t put up with their incessant chatting (note I avoided using the term” rabitting”) and asked them if they were planning to carry on through the whole show. After being asked twice, one of them said that yes he probably would. After a long glare from me they quietened down a little but they never did totally shut up.

So Son of Donegan finished their set and the lights came up. The chatterbox and his friends went out, presumably for some lubricant because his throat was dry. We all had an ice cream.

As I said earlier there were only about 60 people in the theatre. We were 8 rows back from the stage and there were only 17 people in front of us so we decided to move away from the noise. We moved two rows forward. Apparently the people to our right had also gotten fed up with the talking and they had moved to the right.

It transpired that we didn’t need to move as the chatterboxes never returned.

And so, on to Chas.

Well he and his band came on and it was just like Chas & Dave. He did their whole repertoire along with some tracks from his new CD. My view is that he can’t sing for a toffee. It was like being in a pub listening to a bar room singer. Just like with Son of Donegan the best bits were the instrumental breaks. Even some of them left a lot to be desired. One piano break prompted me to mutter to my wife “Come back Les Dawson, all is forgiven”. Where the Donegan anecdotes were all surrounding “my dad”, the Hodges anecdotes were liberally sprinkled with “when I was playing with Jerry Lee Lewis”. Where Donegan was quite eloquent Hodges was not, tending to mumble and stumble through his stories.

Maybe I’m being hypercritical and, just maybe, he would have been better had there been a bigger audience for him to feed on. I was entertained and it really was better than spending an evening watching TV.

But only just. The highlight for me was that I was out with my wife and my sister.

So in answer to the title question…..No !!!