One of the favoured cliches beloved by football commentators is that champions can pull off a win even though they aren't playing well and so it was last night at the semi refurbished Fiveways in Charminster
The evening started well with a stomping good bash at one of my favourite bluebeat sounds 'Rudy, a message to you' however the assembled large gathering proved strangely lukewarm and took a while to warm up.
But Rat Race had brought with them quite a number of supporters and the dancing soon ensued as the band ploughed through a good selection of black and white anthems
Line up changes have clearly not bedded down as yet and the set moved along in fits and starts with a bang on number quickly followed by one that needed work.
Frontman Simon did his best to get the banter with the crowd going and I felt that he perhaps went on too long, maybe as a cover for the band deciding what they were going to play next!
As usual though Simon's 'Bad Manners' was delivered exceptionally well and it was perhaps a sign that everyone felt more comfortable with the track.
It's clear that the band really do love their fans and this was evidenced by a reworded 'Sally Brown' and a couple of renditions of happy birthday. You've got to admire this.
Message to landlords: If you want to see what a Rat Race or Mr Wiseguy can do for your pub then you only need to attend one of their gigs. Last night at The Fiveways was rammed and this is testament to the following that great local bands like these have and to landlords like Carole and Eddy who make a massive effort. You should definitely book a local band.
I don't think they do twatter or soundcloud
Delivery though proved as patchy as an Anderson through-ball and for every nailed on crowd pleaser such as 'Monkey man' there proved to be a strangely discordant follow up with bandmates looking quizzically at one another.
Dandy/Bodysnatchers' '(People Get Ready) Let's Do Rocksteady' did get some of the crowd singing along and despite the patchy performance the punters began to sing and dance along although some more in the style of a Man City 'poznan' than a two-tone tour.
Undeterred the band delivered some of the greatest Two Tone standards and as the evening wore on the crowd warmed, grew and the dancing and singing took hold.
Overall i was a little disappointed with the set. Perhaps though this is much more a result of the high standards that Rat Race have delivered over the last decade. Everyone is entitled to an off day after all!