Kris Roe (The Ataris) – The Peel, Kingston

By paul

plus Dave House & Sam Duckworth
Fighting Cocks, Kingston-Upon-Thames
25th January 2009

The thing about going to Banquet Records gigs, is that there?s a real sense of brotherhood between everyone in the venue. The performers, the crowd, even the staff; everyone seems to know everyone else and it makes for an altogether more intimate atmosphere.

And because they?re more than just your local record shop, they can put on the names that bring in the crowds. First up, Sam Duckworth of Get Cape? fame treats us to a lovely twenty minutes or so and it?s instantly obvious that this guy has passion. Whether or not Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager took your fancy, he?s an undeniable talent, with fingers that move across the fretboard effortlessly and elegantly and a voice that captures the attention of the whole room. With a slew of new songs having their first airing and a jovial on-stage persona, he?s an absolute dream to watch. Local boy and Banquet staffer Dave House follows, with his own brand of Mountain Goats-meets-The Weakerthans vox/guitar action. Despite his self-depreciative attitude and occasional technical hiccups, there?s enough people here to sing along for him when he shies away from the microphone.

Despite the quality support, there?s only one reason that the Fighting Cocks is heaving tonight, and that reason is Mr Kris Roe. In the last couple of years he?s committed many crimes against music (sacking his entire band, releasing Welcome The Night, the list goes on), but tonight is a trip down memory lane to a time before all of that. It was advertised as a ?Blue Skies?? tour, but he showcased enough material from End is Forever and So Long, Astoria to keep even the casual Ataris fan happy. Hell, he even dusted off a few tracks from Anywhere but Here , too. Songs like Between You and Me and Your Boyfriend Sucks work surprisingly well stripped down, fitting in nicely next to the more predictable choices.

After almost an hour and a half and closing on an epic singalong of So Long, Astoria , Kris puts the guitar down and does the usual meet-the-fans routine. While The Ataris that we all grew up with may be dead and buried, tonight their spirit was resurrected for a short time by one man from Indiana and his acoustic guitar.

Andy R