The Saw Doctors - 53 Degrees Preston - 23.4.06

In a world filled with chaos, uncertainty and fear it's a small comfort that to take our minds off the worries which plague us daily, The Saw Doctors uncomplicated, happy go lucky music is a tonic which should come free on the national health service. Regarded fondly as a reputable live band who never fail to raise our spirits The Saw Doctors make this Sunday night feel like St Patricks day all over again.

The Saw Doctors may look like five ordinary, middle aged blokes you'd see huddled together at the pub, but put them on stage and the party begins. Coming on to music from the TV show Tales Of The Unexpected the band play a good mix of live favourites, the occasional surprise and tracks off their latest album "Cure". Not much has changed with The Saw Doctors since I last saw them in 2002 apart from a new bass player and lead singer Davy Carton's new longer hair.

The merry crowd dance around to the nostalgic love song "First Love Stays With You Forever" which sees lead guitarist Lee Moran emulate quite successfully the melodic guitar slickness of Hank Marvin. Using a rootsy folk influenced sound and a healthy does of rock'n'roll sing alongs the band are adept at harmonizing as we discover on the track "To Win Just Once".

"Dark Wind" is a moral but entertaining tale about the pitfalls of fishing alone in a boat, but a sea shanty it most certainly is not. Just before things start to get too serious and maudlin the band play a downright silly and hilarious ditty entitled "Tommy K The DJ" which is goddam catchy that it even has a tongue in cheek hard jive which band and audience both involve themselves. On different, less jovial songs are successful forays into ska and reggae which adds to the richness of the bands oeuvre.

There's room for reflection, heartache, sadness and desire in the Saw Doctors slower songs like "Addictive", "Why Don't We Share The Darkness Tonight" and "Vulnerable" which are tinged with melancholy.

Lets not forget though that this is a party so "I Used To Love Her" featuring Kevin Duffy on keyboards and accordion and The Father Fed lunacy of "Bless Me Father I Have Sinned" sees the first few rows of fans jumping for joy. The surprises which mentioned earlier on come thick and fast during the encore. A spirited cover of T-Rex's "Get It On" is a real winner while
parts of "Hey Wrap" segue into the Pussycat Dolls "Don't Cha" with alternative lyrics from the bass player along the lines of "don't cha wish your boyfriend was old like me, don't cha wish your boyfriend was bald like me". Such a good time was had by all that it's hard not to go home without a big daft smile on your face.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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