From that first moment I dropped the needle on my copy of ‘How Come It Never Rains’ 12” vinyl back in 1988,to excitedly doing the same with new album ‘In Vito Veritas’ now as 2018 draws to a close, I have had an on/off love affair with a man from Wolverhampton, his songs, his words and his artwork.

While I haven’t bought every album Tyla has released (who has? there’s been a lot of ‘em!) I have followed his career through the ups and downs and caught him live when I can. Now in 2018 he has released his strongest album arguably this century and he’s playing a couple of rare intimate shows to celebrate.

 

Matty James Cassidy has been Tyla’s bass player for a good few years now. But he has his own solo thing going on that any self-respecting Tyla fan should be checking out. Armed with just an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, the man in black from Enniskillen plays a fine, upbeat set of nomadic tales from the road.

With two solo albums under his belt and a new single imminent, he has a growing set of catchy, folk-tinged tunes to whet the appetite of the growing crowd awaiting their hero.

There’s more than a hint of The Levellers in the upbeat and folky ‘Gunpowder’, it seems the Dogs fanbase are getting familiar with Matty’s back catalogue. ‘Stick and Stones’ incites the sing-along treatment and just released new single ‘Rosary’ promises much for new material in 2019 from this Northern Ireland troubadour. Great stuff from a rock ‘n’ roll rogue.

 

What more can I say about Boss Caine that I haven’t already said? Daniel Lucas is a local singer/songwriter, a fellow lover of all things rock ‘n’ roll who is living the dream, touring the country and regularly supports his heroes at local gigs. Hell. In fact, I have witnessed him supporting Tyla and The Wildhearts in this very venue.

He has a great new album out called ‘Loved By Trouble, Troubled By Love’, that you really should have in your collection. If you dig gravelly tones vocals, rustic instrumentation and honest, heartfelt songs full of sentiment and stories of life, love and addictions, then dig deep, Mr Lucas has a tale or two for you.

Tonight, he’s flying solo with no Boss Caine band to help him out. While I do love a full big band Boss Caine show, the one man acoustic show is just as mesmerising. Mixing up new tunes with old, Dan plays one of the best shows I have seen him play, to a packed out room, full of fans of one of his musical heroes, does it get any better I ask? And while there are always the annoying people chatting away, there are still plenty giving the Bossman their full attention tonight.

Newbie ‘Morphine & Marmalade’ has a great little guitar riff going on and even better lyricism. New album highlight ‘Champagne’ is always an over-catchy live favourite and sentimental country of ‘Where Good Things Go To Die’ hits in the feels every time

I think Dan needed this show more than ever tonight and he certainly delivered.

 

This is becoming a thing now, innit? Tyla playing at The Fulford Arms. I still have to pinch myself to confirm it’s real, that I have seen one of my biggest heroes several times over the last few years in my favourite local venue.

Riding on the release of latest album ‘In Vino Veritas’, Tyla’s Dogs D’amour are playing just two intimate pre-crimbo shindings at Bannermans in Edinburgh and first of all, here at The Fulford Arms in York. It’s a sold-out show, luckily I purchased a ticket early.

Tyla takes to the stage clutching a bottle of red and a handful of A3 sheets of paper with the lyrics to the new songs. Yep, Tyla has crafted songs that are up there with the best in the back catalogue and his band are going to play them all before we even get a sniff of the hits.

And rightly so. As Tyla breaks out the opening bars of ‘111’ and the band kick in, it truly rocks. For a band that doesn’t actually tour much, The Dogs are tight. Tyla, guitarist Gaz Pennick and drummer Simon Hansen have been a unit for a good few years now and the addition of Matty on bass just works perfectly.

Tyla is on fine form tonight, sipping from a glass of red, he tells bad jokes and fumbles with papers he can’t see.  We are in hysterics and there’s already an electric atmosphere, as the heat rises and the drinks flow…they haven’t even started the second song yet!

Recent single ‘Black Confetti’ follows. A classic mid-paced funeral march if ever there was one. Then ‘Bloodline’ takes things back up, a proper pumping rocker that gets the blood flowing, reminding this reviewer of ‘More Unchartered..’ era Dogs. A killer tune if ever there was one.

A bouncy, Grease styled bass line, courtesy of Matty, gets ‘Bottle Of Red’ going. A perfectly crafted drinking song with a sing-along chorus to boot, classic Tyla at work here.

“Anyone got the new album yet?” Tyla asks the sweaty crowd to a chorus of drunken approval. “You didn’t order through Pledge then?”. Seems there have been some issues with Pledge, he ain’t the first and he won’t be the last, but there are plenty here who mouth the words to every new song the band crank out tonight.

‘I Don’t Love Anyone’ is probably the finest song Tyla has written for years. It sounds like a classic from the back catalogue, heartfelt and full of sentiment like so many before, it’s up there with the best and is a most wonderful highlight this evening.

By the time he strums the opening chords to ‘Last Bandit’ the room erupts and we all sing along for the next 40 minutes or so to some of the greatest songs of our youth. ‘Last Bandit’ is like welcoming an old lost friend back into your life, my god I love that song!

‘Billy Two Rivers’ follows, couples embrace and kiss, friends hug and rejoice and we all sing as one. Is that the opening riff to ‘Firework Girl’? Holy shit it is! Amazing, I can pretty much die happy right now.

They concentrate on the hits, the early live favourites, all the songs you want to hear. ‘Heroine’, ‘Wait Until I’m Dead’, ‘Drunk Like Me’ and the obligatory ‘How Come It Never Rains’.

‘I Don’t Want You To Go’ is slower than normal and shambolic, it sounds ace! ‘What You Do’ form the highly underrated ‘More Unchartered…’ rocks us out nicely too.

 

Out of tune, off their heads and in our hearts The Dogs D’amour will always continue in one form or another, with Tyla always at the heart of it all, and right now he has the best line-up since those long gone glory days.

Tonight was a glorious celebration of the old and the new. 35 years he’s been at it and many here have been with him every step of the way. Like a fine red wine, the old dog has aged mightily well. Proving to all doubters that he still has a few new tricks up his sleeve and the power to captivate all who will listen, here’s to a good few more.

Author: Ben Hughes

Buy the new Tyla album Here 

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