Review: The Piccadilly Bullfrogs at The Ritzy

October 02, 2011



Where do they come from, these dancers? It seems not a week goes by at the Ritzy without some alarmingly era-specific dancing breaking out during one of the performances in the 'Upstairs' bar. Might be something to do with the always fantastic acts that they book up there for their 'Around The Decades' series of live music nights which has already featured Sternberg Clarke favourites 'The Dixie Ticklers' and last Friday featured the Piccadilly Bullfrogs; a Memphis style Rockabilly Trio who were the epitome of the early Rock n' Roll that we associate with the era.

Thanks to the Dixie Ticklers, I'm all out of Washboard jokes... and by all out I mean I've used the 'Fast Show' one.

Within seconds of their first number, the dancers had appeared out of the woodwork; jumping, jiving, and displaying a serious commitment to historical accuracy in their costuming choices. It was enough to make one yearn for a more innocent time - a time before Krumping and Autotune, when teenagers dressed like Ritchie Cunningham and Rock stars could only be shot from the waist up to avoid offending anyone with their scandalous gyrating.

The Piccadilly Bullfrogs

Sadly, no pelvic scandal was caused by the Bullfrogs who instead were more concerned with entertaining the assorted fans of Vintage Rock n' Roll with a set of songs that cut pleasantly through the decade mixing in recognisable tunes with more obscure numbers from the era. Specialising in early 50's Memphis Rn'B (that would later become known as 'Rockabilly') the band prove that the 50s didn't begin and end with Elvis, though his spectre certainly looms large.

The Piccadilly Bullfrogs attacked by their Arch Nemesis - The Piccadilly Boom Mic

Despite their small size, the band make a delightfully full sound using the percussiveness of their instruments to make up for the lack of a drummer; which would be brilliant for venues with restrictions on sound or smaller spaces. It's easy to imagine the band fitting in perfectly at events with a vintage feel. More importantly, thanks to decades of teary eyed nostalgia for 50s America in TV and cinema - the music has a sort of inbuilt appeal to people of all ages and when it's executed as well as it was by the Piccadilly Bullfrogs, can go down a storm with any audience.

Anyway, got to make like a tree and get out of here - the Greasers have challenged me to a Drag Race and I don't want anyone to think I'm square... I like Ike.