Romances @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

For me, some of the greatest rock music ever played and recorded was in the Seventies, and the end of the Sixties. It’s probably got a lot to do with what I was listening to in those formative years of my life, but they were also pioneering times, and more than likely a by-product of the consumption of large amounts of drugs by musicians and audiences alike. What were once distinct genres of rock ’n’ roll, or  country, or jazz, or any of the popular music formats, were cross-pollinating and experimenting. It was also the era of legendary rock stars. People who looked and behaved like outlaws, but with the sensibilities and dress sense of poets and bohemians. For the most part, rock music (of all genres) has become a lot more sanitised and money has become more important than artistic integrity. Bands have stylists and PR reps to control their image. Not that there’s anything wrong with having a stage persona. It’s unlikely that most metal bands are actually satanists, or if satan is even real (which is a discussion for another time and place), but if you play metal you are supposed to look a certain way. The same with rock bands. But it’s no good looking the part if you can’t deliver the goods.

Most rock and pop music is derivative. One sound is influenced by what came before it, which in turn influences what it is to follow. Sure there are some true originals, who have struck their own path, but without first picking up inspiration from elsewhere. And that is true for all creative pursuits. Which it is crazy when musicians start suing other musicians for “stealing” their sound. The thing to do is take what you like and make it your own, and that also goes for good old rock music.

Romances are one of those bands. (Bad Touch and Dirty Thrills are two others that immediately spring to mind). Their influences are fairly obvious, but they mix outstanding musicianship and great songwriting with an amazing stage presence. They know how to rock. And what more can you ask for?


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