White Lion’s Rustlers

Local peddlers of fine country and Americana Pete David & The Payroll Union (one heckuva name for a band) have just (okay, a fortnight ago) released their six song EP, Underfed and Underpaid (another heckuva name!) with an impressive 2 set gig.

The place? The seemingly at world’s end pub White Lion, where London Road loses its name for Chesterfield Road.

Far, but who gives a flying fig when the atmosphere is ace? A couple of friends joined me and commented on the band’s look, all suited up and looking like they were avid users of Dapper Dan (how’s mah hair?). The band introduced themselves and proceeded to rock out, no warnings whatsoever given.

The gig was split in two. First it was the Underfed and Underpaid EP in its entirety, with a couple of extra songs. I have a soft spot for ‘The Sacrifice’ and ‘Richmond town’. The former due to the constant pounding rhythm, an invitation for foot tapping (or a slight headbang to the side – at great cost to your neck) and the latter ’cause it’s damn catchy and rocky.

‘There’s a light’, that’s one that I like miles better live. Don’t get me wrong, the recorded version is pretty good, but there’s something about this song in a live setting that really pushes it forward. It’s the simple, catchy bass, the steady beat in the snare or the banjo shining through that makes it so good. Pete David‘s voice, gravelly as if washed with gallons (American, not Imperial) of bourbon, also was best in this song.

The band closed this set with ‘Old Rebel Sue’ and ‘Jake the pistol’, last one is another good one. They took an intermission to catch some breath, get some alcoholic reinforcements and chat with the now big crowd mobbing the place. A few EPs managed to get sold (with a free badge, natch) and after a well deserved brake, they went into their second set.

It seems that ‘Whiskey in my whiskey’ is a fan classic, as quite a few members of the audience know this one (it’s a cover from The Felice Brothers). ‘Emily’ is pretty good, but the prime choice for me in this set was ‘1826’, a song that just grows and grows. It’s hard to describe but if you bogey down to Pete David & The Payroll Union‘s Facebook, you can listen to it in their ‘Info’ section.

There was another cover and it was ‘Cocaine Blues’. “When I was arrested / I was dressed in black”, an ace line, the cover was just as good. ‘Going down that road’ was a great way to close the night, but the audience still roared for more. And so the band complied, playing again ‘Richmond town’, ‘The sacrifice’ (I think) and an extra song which names escapes me.

The audience was still hungry for more, the band was buzzing, but alas, it was that time when we all turn to pumpkins, so we all had to call it a night. Still, the band and the audience spent a lil’ more time together, chatting and having a great night.

Packed night, great music, requests for encore and a good atmosphere. Great EP launch then.


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About the author: As an aside, the White Lion seems to be doing a push for gigs on weekend nights. The venue looks good, maybe it’s a good alternative for bands struggling to get a place to play?

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