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Following the release of ‘All You Can Eat’, Left Lane Cruiser got their European tour underway at The Lexington on Pentonville Road. A good old fashioned boozer housing a great upstairs live room, a perfectly situated raised bar and sunken floor means that there is excellent view of the stage from anywhere. The sense of dirty blues nights are stained around the venue and plenty of scares from hard rock ‘n’ roll make up the vibe.
Left Lane Cruiser are the hard rocking duo from Fort Wayne, Indiana, a full on punk, blues locomotive selling themselves on raw power. Something hard to support, but stepping up to the plate was Toe Hammer, The Lexington’s very own house band and how they deserve the title too. Some may think a slightly unusual three piece line up incorporating two guitars without a bass but there is no lack of drive with this trio. Toe Hammer has a railroad blues foundation topped with heavy riffs and the second guitar grinding its way through a bass amp. They make an impressive start to the evenings events and certainly created an impact on the full up Lexington, especially showing off with the drum solo. We will be seeing a lot more of Toe Hammer for sure. Full marks!
There is a huge satisfaction when a master of a trade shows you how it’s done and this is exactly what Left lane Cruiser do in abundance. Although a laid back approach is carried to their stage presence with Freddy J’s sit down position, Left Lane Cruiser work as a total powerhouse unit. Easing themselves in with a stomping cover of Muddy Waters’, ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin’ then Lead Belly’s/Ram Jam’s, ‘Black Betty’ warms it up nicely and without fear of airing their influence. This is a band that oozes its natural live ability, they don’t seem to roll through a set list but get moving on how the atmosphere takes them. Nothing but pure, heavy, heart thumping punk blues. Left Lane Cruiser thunder through the tracks ‘Hard Working Man’ and ‘Ol’ Fashioned’, backed with Beck’s pounding drum style and undeniable energy. They even stir things up a little by busting out a washboard and cowbells hinting at a taste of an earthy, roots tinker. But, the low end overdriven guitars, growling vocals, blood, sweat and a belly full of primal blues is the Left Lane Cruiser mix and damn, it’s good.
I was lucky enough to catch Left Lane Cruiser pre-gig for a quick pint. They certainly look like a couple of tough, train riding guys that fuel their musical passions on beer and whiskey. On the contrary, two of the nicest, ‘hard working men’ (bad pun) that you will ever meet. The duo have embarked on a 29 date tour across Europe in just 31 days, a slog for any band, even Dylan would struggle with that!
On the whole this was an inspiring night of punk blues and rock ‘n’ roll, two fantastic bands and a venue proving the London scene is very much alive. I for one can’t wait for more.