Al Baker and The Dole Queue - Riggers, Stoke (24/07/2008)
Joel Sacca | Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Al Baker calls the sound Troubacore and they're his Dole Queue, so he can call their sound whatever he likes. It's a canny move on Al's behalf; without such a catchy tag reviewers would be forced to waste valuable copy on such broad definitions as political folk-rockers or even Dylan-esque funksters. Above all, it's easier to pronounce Troubacore than ceilidh.
For the record, it's pronounced kay-lee and it's a term that Al Baker and The Dole Queue are going to struggle to shake off. Any band that sports a squeeze-box piano is in danger of being pigeon-holed as a twiddly-dee Gaelic outfit. Despite their Chas and Dave outfits, Al Baker and The Dole Queue managed to rock the biker crowd at Riggers on Thursday night.
Whilst the sight of an acoustic guitar evokes painful memories of Christopher Lily-Crap in anyone over thirty, the band ddelivere a set that was anything but gentle. From the set opener, 'This Machine', to the edgy cover of Springsteen's 'Atlantic City', Baker rags his guitar with a finger shredding energy that would make Joe Strummer proud.
The Clash influence is hard to escape with tunes like 'Grandad Was An Anarchist', but The Dole Queue are always on hand to balance Al Baker's militant aggression. This is never more the case than on 'Story Time', where Al hands the spotlight to singer Alison Cegielka. Her smoky tones encourage the rioters to be to take a breath and reflect on life's lessons.
Al and the band seem unlikely to remain on the dole queue for long. Al has already made a name for himself supporting the likes of Attila the Stockbroker, David Rovics, Evan Greer, Ryan Harvey, Alun Parry and Gideon Conn. Besides, it's only a matter of time before someone from the Job Centre sees their show and revokes their income support.
Photo: Simon Clarkson