Danny & The Champions Of The World
@ The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
It’s a number of years since I visited the cracking little venue known as the Brudenell Social Club, so I was looking forward to this gig by Danny George Wilson and his cohorts. It’s an intimate and friendly venue so it’s no surprise to see the bands milling about near the bar/merchandise stall and chatting with fans before the action kicks off.
We’re warmed up by two support acts – a solo acoustic set by Rosalie Deighton (who also sings with ‘The Champs’ as they’re affectionately known) and local band The Asa Hawks – that rarest of things a Country rock band from Leeds – watch out for their rather excellent Roadkiller EP due out soon.
Then Danny and his crew set-up their gear, a friendly hello later and they launch enthusiastically into ‘Ghosts In the Wire’ the first track from their recently released ‘Hearts & Arrows’ album. Danny is a pocket dynamo in denim (he only looks about 5 foot 3) as he joyfully sparks off his fellow guitarists flanked side by side of him – and when he chats to the audience due to his South London roots he sounds not unlike a young Ray Winstone.
The rest of the band look like proper old school twice round the block rockers, and they storm through most of the material from that new album as pulsing, powerful guitars fill the venue (a lot more than the disappointingly few people in the place do) and by the second or third track Danny has sweat dripping from his slicked back hair.
Despite the band enjoying themselves and rocking out the crowd don’t really seem to get into it – due to the smallish turnout a lot of people are politely sat down in the comfy seating areas towards the back of the venue leaving a sparsely populated standing area in front of the stage. Regardless of this the band continues to put everything into the performance culminating in an emotionally charged ‘Henry The Van’ from the ‘Streets of Our Time’ album.
The set closes with a triumphant ‘You Don’t Know (My Heart is in The Right Place)’ and you’re left reflecting on the fact that it’s a crying shame that the venue is only about a third full (and among those are support band and various mates of the bands playing) for a great little band with a hugely talented songwriter at its heart. Maybe huge commercial success would spoil them but it would be nice to find out.