Review: Chas and Dave at The Venue, Chichester

Chas and Dave were a big hit at The Venue, Chichester
Chas and Dave were a big hit at The Venue, Chichester

THESE days, plenty of singers and bands rely on jazzy laser and lights shows, weird and wonderful costumes and enough backing musicians to fill several orchestra pits in order to make their live shows memorable.

Not so Chas and Dave. It’s just the two of them, their drummer, their instruments and their songs. No extra packaging, no frills - nothing else needed.

On Saturday night they brought The Venue in Chichester to life and by the end of their two-part set there was hardly a person in the place who wasn’t up and dancing.

Chas and Dave are infectious. They’re one of those acts who can play something you’ve never heard before and you can still tap your feet to it and feel like it’s an old favourite.

It’s easy to pigeon-hole Chas and Dave - some unfairly see them as a novelty act - but when you see them up close and personal, you can hear what a wide variety of musical genres they have mastered: everything from blues to boogie woogie. Influences like Jerry Lee Lewis - in whose band Chas used to play - and Lonnie Donegan were evident too.

The first half of a set well supported by covers band 8 Miles High was all about Chas and Dave in the 1970s, when they were gigging round London’s pubs and playing a mixture of their own tunes and traditional songs which had been around for many years. The End of Me Old Cigar was my own favourite here.

Part two took us to the 1980s and the hits which made them famous - such as Margate, Snooker Loopy and Give Me A London Girl Every Time.

Having grown up obsessed by the charts at the time Chas and Dave were in them regularly, I was surprised how many songs in this part of the show I wasn’t familiar with - but they were all great.

They ended with the big three - Rabbit, Ain’t No Pleasin’ You and The Sideboard Song - by which time an appreciative crowd were on the verge of invading the stage at this wonderfully-intimate venue - in fact, one lady did and was given a sharp shove back from where she came by Dave.

All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable night of proper music, and to anyone, should they exist, who didn’t love it - one word: Gertcha!

STEVE BONE