When the Style Council’s second studio album Our Favourite Shop was released in 1985, a young Paul Weller was still a political songwriter, and With Everything to Lose was statement to that. This was the year of the film Back to the Future. Tonight, in 2018 though, most of us young hopefuls are now grown up and mentally exhausted, and the social injustices and poor wages still exist. Paul Weller once sang, “There will be no money if you dare to question working the Tory way”. 1985 or 2018, I can’t tell the difference; poverty and ageing go hand in hand. So with my DeLorean parked up and set to 1985, I went back in time to watch the world’s only Style Council tribute band, ‘The Style Councillors’, perform Our Favourite Shop, The Style Councils most famous recording.
Tonight’s gig, was at the impressive Arts Club on Seel Sreet, and as at any Paul Weller related gig, I was on the lookout for a Fred Perry T shirt, a wedge hairstyle or a Parker. What I did see was Soul Boys with their white jeans and black tasselled leather loafers, a throwback to the Style Council’s fashion parade via 1987.
The stage was dominated with keyboards, drums, percussions, guitars and lots of distortion pedals. This was a professional set up. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Style Council tribute band, but on first impressions, the set up was very impressive.
The 10 piece band entered the small stage in droves and took their allocated positions. The last to assume his was the lead singer and he didn’t look or sound anything like Paul Weller. An observation I commented to my friend, to which he replied, “It’s not stars in your eyes you know”
The Councillors worked their impressive craftsmanship through Our Favourite Shop, the theme for tonight’s gig and suddenly, I was transformed back to being a 15 year old boy, singing along to every word and reminiscing with other fans. The celebratory atmosphere was generated organically as the band grew in confidence, with the audience appreciating the fire, skill and determination of the musicians. They were now fired up and dancing to one stomping tune after another, and an organic relationship between band and audience grew for this their maiden gig in Liverpool. They had created an atmosphere of appreciation and an opportunity to reminisce at the strum of a chord or a palm on a bongo, and transformed many middle aged adults back to a time where hope was still achievable and music was a vital element in our lives.
Re-entering the stage for a second encore, the band took a crowd selfie before finishing with a northern soul stomp, the keyboard player did say, “I don’t think we have any more songs left”, I don’t think the crowd noticed, they were too busy enjoying themselves.
Music is a vital part to many people’s lives, and occasionally, it’s healthy to go back and enjoy songs from your past. That’s why tribute bands are in demand; they are the closest to the real deal you can experience.
The Style Councillors’ first gig in Liverpool was a great success, and judging by their Facebook post, they agreed with the audience. A real solid bond moment tonight, the torch keeps on burning. I shall return to watch them again.
Image: The Style Councillors in Bournemouth (Ashley Greb)