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Live Review: The Members album launch and a new line-up for Los Santos!

Two bands with new music to play attracted the crowds to the iconic 100 Club in London on Friday 3rd May..

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you must have heard that quirky late 70s punks The Members have just released a new album entitled; ‘Greetings From Knowhere‘. Following on from their previous album, 2021’s ‘Bedsitland’, JC, Chris and Nick are back making more noise, so where better to launch their new album than the legendary 100 Club?

Inviting special guests Los Santos London along to open, we were guaranteed a good night of musical entertainment from long-serving Punk musicians. The brainchild of The SaintsMichael G Bayliss (vocals and bass guitar) and Richard England (Cadiz Music boss, guitar and vocals), they released an excellent EP late last year; ‘El Corazon‘. Bayliss and England previously played together in the band Alcohol.

El Corazon‘ (The Heart in Spanish) features 21st Century DIY punk stars and Wonk Unit members Alex Wonk on drums and Xray Vez (Veronique Hawksworth) on lead vocals. It’s a fantastic EP, especially if you like your punk a bit dirty and grungy but still high energy! However, Wonk Unit are busy bees which means that both musicians are unavailable, so Los Santos had to find new members..

Los Santos - Richard England and Michael G Bayliss
Los Santos - Richard England and Michael G Bayliss

Step forward the ‘new boys’ – firstly, from the middle of 3 generations of drummers, James Sherry (Desperate Measures NZ, Dealing With Damage, Done Lying Down) is a superb choice behind the drum kit. Sherry can turn his hand to many styles and is a frequent sight on the live scene, playing for current gigging bands. Despite having had “only two rehearsals” before playing this gig, he was keeping it all together at the back with consummate ease and professionalism.

Never one to turn down the opportunity to play in yet another band, guitarist Leigh Heggarty (Ruts DC, The Price, Wingmen and countless others..) is a very welcome addition to Los Santos! Again a very versatile instrumentalist, I have seen him play everything from blues to rock ‘n’ roll to glam to new wave to punk. Bringing his customary enthusiasm to the stage, along with an increasingly confident backing vocal, he is an indisputable asset to the team.

Their 9-song set consisting of original material plus covers (including The Saints’ ‘This Perfect Day‘ and Hüsker Dü‘s ‘Sorry Somehow‘) was enjoyed by their fans in the crowd (myself being one!). It would have been better with Vez on vocals, but Bayliss and England gamely took turns on lead while playing their respective instruments, and the essence of their songs was conveyed.

Los Santos - James Sherry
Los Santos - Leigh Heggarty

Multi-tasking on the busy merch stall for much of the evening, JC Carroll – who has been in The Members on guitar and vocals since 1977 – was joined by fellow long term band member Chris Payne (bass and vocals) “Serving a 47 year sentence” quipped JC! Behind the kit was Nick Cash, the band’s drummer since 2008, recruited shortly after The Members re-formed.

With the set list written on a paper plate (“We don’t usually have one” JC told me!) The Members only played two tracks from the new album; ‘Time Bomb‘ with guest vocalist Danny Hawkins (who also provided backing vocals on the album, usually found fronting The Fanzines) and ‘The Boy From Knowhere‘. Much to the assembled fans’ delight, the majority of songs were Members classics such as ‘Offshore Banking Business‘, ‘Working Girl‘, ‘Solitary Confinement‘ and of course their big hit ‘The Sound of the Suburbs‘.

Invited back on stage for the second time that evening, Richard England joined in as guest guitarist, making full use of the wide stage alongside Danny and the band. For those who haven’t seen The Members, their music is heavily influenced by reggae and dub as well as punk, so we were treated to quite the musical smorgasbord over the course of the evening.

The Members - JC Carroll
The Members - Chris Payne
The Members - Chris Payne

Covers of ‘You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)’ by Jamaican singer Dawn Penn and ‘Police In Helicopter‘ by reggae artist John Holt graced the extensive set. The crowd were ecstatic when ‘Chelsea Nightclub‘ and ‘Muzak Machine‘ from early Members albums were played!

On the ‘Greetings From Knowhere‘ album, band member from 1978 to 2016 Nigel Bennett (The Vibrators) plays guitar, while session bassist Guy Pratt plays on 2 tracks. It’s the mixed bag you’d expect from The Members, with the soulful ‘The Boy From Knowhere‘ followed by the rock ‘n’ roll of ‘The I Don’t Care Song‘, with ‘No More A&E‘ sounding like it could have been on one of their early 80s albums! Funky dub-tinged ‘Don’t Lie To Me‘ and ‘It’s Cold Out There‘, mellow acoustic ‘Beautiful Song‘, catchy sing-along ‘Time Bomb‘ and more await your listening pleasure..

The Members - Nick Cash
The Members - Nick Cash
The Members with guests Danny Hawkins and Richard England

Greetings From Knowhere‘ by The Members is available from HERE on CD and LP

El Corazon‘ by Los Santos London is available on CD from HERE

Both are also available via streaming services.

The Members - Greetings From Knowhere
Los Santos - El Corazon

Main Photo Credit / All Live Photos: RUTH RAE

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