There is a legend among Thames boatmen of a ghost ship, a vessel shrouded in darkness plying the grey river in the night. On board a band plays, guests revel and the music drifts out across the river. The Blinding Lights are not that band but I could understand what they were trying to create here.
Effectively Callum Lury and his brothers Jack and Theo supplemented with a three-piece horn section, the band is hell-bent on a Jersey Shore vibe in this gig on a 1930’s barge. It works best when the full complement is playing, the highlight being Can’t Get Enough. Callum Lury, at the piano, mid-song, ad-libs about wanting to play an Elton John number on a Hoxton pub jukebox, only to be told the jukebox is just for show. Lury, feigning indignation launches back bashing his piano Jerry Lee Lewis style into the climax of the song.
Evoking a young E Street Band but swapping down bound trains and the like with south London’s equivalent, the 159 bus, the songs work and Lury works hard to pump up the crowd. The opener sees Callum at the piano on Into the City, a tale of Jimmy leaving his job at the boatyard that builds anthem like, his voice just the right amount of gravel when required.
The set ebbs and flow and flows a bit, with the horns leaving the stage a couple of times and, when Lury swaps his piano for guitar, the absence of a bassist is tangible. There is a nice understated cover of Purple Rain. Nutbush City Limits and Keep on Running fit in too. They have a small loyal young following and tonight was a great venue with fine acoustics but the gig could probably have done with more passing trade, difficult here in a part of town that is a bit of a rock n roll desert.
If they could coax this old ghost ship out of its property development backwaters this crew could go far.