Fran Hardcastle writes about PB Underground ahead of their gig at Pizza Express Dean Street this weekend…
It’s not often you go to a gig and come out thinking that the support band were ‘almost better’ than the headline act. Such was the opinion of a couple of overheard audience members at the bar at Tower of Power at KOKO last night. A sacrilegious comment for a die hard TOP fan perhaps. TOP are most certainly at the top of their game, but support band, PB Underground deserve such comparison.
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Run by northern drummer, Pete Ray Biggin, who co-composes all of their original earworms, PB Underground is a collective of some of the absolute best session/pop/soul and jazz musicians in the country. Last night’s line-up included bassist Ben Epstein (Duffy), the phenomenal percussionist and vocalist Daniel Pearce (Dizzy Rascal), Sean Freeman (Level 42) on tenor sax, Brendan Reilly (Basement Jaxx) alongside Patrick Alan (The Drifters) on lead vocals and Soul Family favourite Ben Jones on guitar, to name a few. The result is near perfect timing, precision, energy and soloing that blows you out of the water. The band seem to be a bit of an industry secret at the moment, but this should soon change. With festivals like Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul and Craig Charles’ Funk and Soul Show leading packed regular club nights in the North of England, a funk revival is happening and this band should be king.
PB Underground are at Pizza Express Dean Street, Saturday 31st March.
they were hot….but not yet in the same league as TOP
Your crazy they wiped the floor with TOP, me and my girlfriend left half way through their set as PB underground hit harder,, don't get me wrong TOP are the best but PBUG are the new kids in town.
I was there too, I left after 3 songs of TOP, PB were definitely more powerful. They were amazing!!!
Im a TOP fan but I have to say the PB underground are my new favourite's,they where incredible!
Pete ray biggin was amazing on drums and daniel pearce Blew me away,can't wait to see them again,
I bet this time next year they will be topping the bill at koko!
I'm not sure it's exactly fair to compare TOP and PBU. TOP helped write the book on funk back in the 70's and I very much doubt any person in PBU would be playing the way they do without their influence. However, PBU are taking the best bits from the last 4 decades and putting their own stamp on it. And, more importantly, bringing back funk and creating a scene again in London. Their level of musicianship is outstanding and is a massive breath of fresh air from a lot of what's being put out at the moment (The W3 boys in West London are also doing some really cool stuff).
Any band that can hold their head up and share a stage with TOP deserve ultimate respect!!