The Faith Stealers [Mod Covers, 4 piece]
It was exactly one year ago that I last saw the Faith Stealers and at the very same venue. But the circumstances were very different.
Last year at London Colney's Bull pub everyone was rushing indoors to avoid the rain. This time the weather was a glorious 80 degrees Fahrenheit and Gary Sear and his merry men could happily 'roast' in a marquee in the spacious garden.
The place was already packed when the band started and anyone who hadn't seen the Faith Stealers before soon realised that this was a quartet of out-and-out professionals who love playing the 'mod' music of the sixties, seventies and eighties.
Paul Weller's haunting Wild Wood got things off to a fine start before the band presented a selection of great 1960's mod hits including Tired Of Waiting For You (the Kinks), Heart Full Of Soul (Yardbirds) and Here Comes The Nice (Small Faces).
"You won't hear Mustang Sally", said Gary who has a lovely laid-back style when talking to his audience. Most of the punters looked quite relieved.
Gary handles all main vocals while his trusty sidemen Ray Bayley (bass, backing vocals) and Martin Franklin (drums) have supported him for many years. There was the added attraction at this gig of Steve Oakman, a superb keyboard player and local-boy-done-good.
The best thing about Mr Sear's selection of songs is that it's never just the obvious mod covers. Sure, there are the Jam favourites like Down In The Tube Station At Midnight and Shout To The Top but few bands would tackle The Bitterest Pill or Paul Weller's subtle English Rose.
And when was the last time you heard any pub band tackle the theme to the movie Get Carter; Morrissey's Every Day Is Like Sunday or the mod anthem The In Crowd a la the Ramsey Lewis Trio?
Gary's likeable personality comes across well and the music is performed with great professionalism and style. There's audience participation too with Mr Sear and team getting the large crowd to sing along to All Or Nothing and My Generation.
After some 32 songs most musicians would be thinking about packing up the gear and putting their feet up to watch Match Of The Day but Gary and Steve were getting ready for their next gig -- just one hour later, at the Farmer's Boy in St Albans.
Now that's entertainment.
COLIN FENN, DJ/Freelance JournalistColin Fenn, Thursday 29 August 2019
Cheers Colin for staying to the end on that blistering day.! ..and thank you so much for the review.
The Christmas Party gig at the Farmers Boy co-insided with Ros the landlady's birthday and was set to be a good night with the Faith Stealers playing. Ros and Doug sold their house and flat 10 years ago to run a music pub and have successfully had different types of music during the week/weekends encompassing solo artists to bands, newcomers to experienced professionals, open mic to quiz nights and disco - The Farmers covers it all.
With an extended licence and open till 2.0 am and the Faith Stealers playing a longer set than usual (8.30-11.30) what more could you want!
Fronted by Gary with a great voice and doing clever things on the guitar, mischievous Martin (Keith Moon) on drums, good humoured Ray on bass and the multi-talented Steve Oakman on keyboard the sound was excellent. Playing 60s well known songs Kinks to Zombies and particularly covering the mod era to punk, Small Faces - Gary even sounds like Steve Marriot - to The Who, The Jam to Paul Weller and on to the present. Great renditions of Gloria and Down In The Tube Station and entertaining Gary had us all singing along to All Or Nothing (the girls first followed by the boys!) and on to The Jam's poetic English Rose. A well chosen collection of Who numbers followed with brilliant versions of Wont Get Fooled Again through to the end finishing with My Generation. They played far too many songs to list here!
Everyone was enjoying themselves and it was a great atmosphere and a really good turn out. The time passed so quickly and it was 11.30 before we knew it and we were all expecting the music to finish but no - the Faith Stealers played on until 12.0 which we all appreciated as they had only had two short breaks during the entire night. Gary sang his heart out to such a vast array of songs and of course no one wanted it to end!
Many thanks to Ros for booking the Faith Stealers and to her and Doug for organising such a good night for all us music lovers to enjoy such great music! Well done to the Faith Stealers - keep playing!
Rose SearleSaturday 5 January 2019
Thanks a lot Rose, you've made Ray smile again!
Gary Sear is a man committed to his music. Not for him are pub gigs where the audience croon along to Brown Eyed Girl and Mustang Sally.
Gary loves (and always has loved) the music of the mods and he reproduces the sound of many of the hits from the era -- even adding his own interpretations occasionally.
And Mr Sear loves the mod sounds so much that he travels to and from his current home in Poland to entertain UK audiences.
Gary and his fellow Faith Stealers started the Bull gig with a most unusual choice -- Paul Weller's Wild Wood; before tackling more familiar mod material like the Kinks' classic Set Me Free ("the great Jim Rodford taught us how to play this", Gary told the audience); and the Small Faces' psychedelic smash Itchycoo Park. Then came an unusual Beatles' number -- the under-rated album track I Need You.
The Faith Stealers are top-class musicians and Gary (lead guitar, vocals), Ray Bayley (bass guitar, vocals) and Martin Franklin (drums) have played together for years -- and it shows.
At the cosy Bull pub in London Colney they were joined on keyboards by the multi-talented Steve Oakman (of Vanity Fare and Bruvvers fame). They demonstrated their musical talents on Booker T and the MGs' funky Time Is Tight, with some great organ work by Steve.
Gary is a big fan of Paul Weller and all things Jam and it came as no surprise that during the two sets there were plenty of Jam numbers -- Down In The Tube Station At Midnight, Start, Town Called Malice, plus solo Weller material like the beautiful You Do Something To Me.
Gary Sear's shows are thoroughly entertaining as you never know what's coming next. The choice of material is eclectic. At the Bull he offered the Main Theme to the movie Get Carter; Bobby Darin's folk number If I Were A Carpenter; John Lennon's powerful Working Class Hero; and the Who's Love Reign Over Me from Quadrophenia.
This fantastic quartet rounded off the evening with some great mod classics by the Kinks (Waterloo Sunset, Dead End Street), the Small Faces (All Or Nothing, Whatcha Gonna Do About It) and the Who (Won't Get Fooled Again). A great show from a highly talented band.
COLIN FENN, DJ/Freelance JournalistThursday 2 August 2018
Not seen the Faith Stealers for a while so it was a real treat to catch them at the Bull Saturday night. The lads were on top form, Tube Station and Start were fantastic, Gary belting out Small Faces & Kinks covers - brilliant stuff. But they took it up a notch for their best of the night, Shout to the Top (not heard them do it before) was better than the original, Matt(?) on keys was amazing, so good he is even forgiven for some dubious attire, that t-shirt needs to go mate, you're a Mod man - a dedicated follower of fashion!! The crowd loved the show, especially 2nd half, I've not seen the Bull like that for a long time. Outstanding gig - you guys get better and better.
MJTuesday 12 January 2016
Many, many thanks to you guys for playing great music. Some of my faves were, You Do Something To Me, Pinball Wizard and songs by The Jam, timeless classics that you play so perfectly. Thanks again and looking forward to the next time. Maxine.
Maxine WardSunday 4 October 2015