Kast off Kinks – Belgrade Theatre
by Pete Clemons
Although they should have been, I never felt The Kinks were really given the same credit that bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who had. That’s not to say they never got any credence. Of course they did, and anyone who seriously enjoys listening to music, loves them so much, and can reel off plenty of their song titles with ease.
I have always thought that, regardless of the talent, music is all about luck and timing. The right place at the right time. Maybe The Kinks didn’t really fit into a category. Were they a mod band or a rockers band? It shouldn’t matter one bit but yet these things have always tended to.
And then there were the differences between Ray and Dave Davies. There have been many telling statements over the years. Ray Davies - ‘He has had his problems with me. I am not an easy person to work with’. Dave Davies - ‘Many times I played the older brother’. ‘I was never allowed the same creative space as I allowed him (Ray)’.
Their songs pulled in so many different and diverse influences. Dave Davies - ‘Record companies didn’t know what to do with us’. Songs like ‘Come Dancing’ and ‘Village Green Preservation Society’ were really good songs. In retrospect both are seen as classics. But at the time of release they never quite got the praise they deserved. Maybe it was a case of being released at the wrong time? The Village Green Preservation Society album was certainly more than just a collection of songs. Given all of this, and in terms of their style of writing, The Kinks were incredibly unique.
Carrying the flame for all those great songs nowadays are the Kast Off Kinks who recently appeared at an almost packed Belgrade Theatre. And all the band members have strong associations with the parent band, hence the ‘Kast Off’s’ moniker. None more so than drummer Mick Avory, who was with The Kinks since its inception, give or take the first month or so. The rest of the ‘Kast Offs’ are bass player John Dalton, Ian Gibbons on keyboard and lead guitarist Dave Clarke.
Armed with a vast body of work at their disposal the Kast Off Kinks opened with ‘Where Have all the Good Times Gone’. And that song opened the door to two sets, the first of them clocking in at around an hour and the second, well over an hour.
And the creativity and wordplay of the Ray Davies songbook continued with songs such as ‘Days’, ‘Sunny Afternoon’, ‘Lola’, ‘All Day and All of the Night’, ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion’ and so many more including the song that many consider the greatest pop song ever written ‘Waterloo Sunset’.
It is true to say that during their existence The Kinks did have timing issues that led to periods of little, or no, commercial success. But the body of work they have left us will ensure that the Kast Off’s will be wowing an audience for as long as they want too.
Kast Off Kinks with Ray Davies