After the gig drought of the last couple of years, it’s important to take every opportunity to get out there and support your favourite artists. Here in the southwest of France, it’s no different. There haven’t been many gigs of late, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear that UK Subs legend Alvin Gibbs was playing at a bar just a few miles from chez Moi. Yes, it’s Thursday evening, yes, I’m working tomorrow, but let’s go!

I’ve stopped off at Pub Gabariers before, on an afternoon ride, so I knew it was a nice spot, next to the canal. Hearing that he was due to be joined on guitar by Steve Crittall (Black Bombers, ex-Godfathers, all-round nice chap) was the icing on the cake.

It’s a relaxed atmosphere at the pub/bistro, with just enough room inside for the band and a small audience, but Alvin is on home turf, having moved near Bordeaux some years ago. So, we get a variety of classics from the Subs, Iggy Pop/The Stooges, Alice Cooper, as well as some tunes from Alvin’s fine solo album, ‘Your Disobedient Servant’.

While the vocals could be a little louder, the bass is unsurprisingly upfront, and Steve’s guitar is suitably savage during the likes of ‘Down On The Street’ and ‘I Got A Right’, hitting just the right tone on ‘1969’. It was particularly good to hear ‘Ghost Train’ and ‘Clumsy Fingers’, and the Jonesy riff of ‘Tuff Baby’, with the surprise inclusion of ‘Children Of The Revolution’ and ‘Brand New Cadillac’. Something for everyone, including the handful of ragged Subs t-shirts; ‘Tomorrow’s Girl’ and ‘Warhead’ to end, complete with audience participation.

An unexpected treat on a Thursday evening. I hope to see the Subs again, probably in the UK, their recent album ‘Reverse Engineering’ is excellent, and tonight showed that Alvin’s songs merit a second solo album…

Author: Martin Chamarette