Los Pistoleros leave crowd happy

Los Pistoleros,Manor Ballroom,FridayWITH a name like Los Pistoleros you'd be forgiven for expecting such gun-slinging cowboys to tote a mean western accent alongside their honky-tonk tunes.

Los Pistoleros,

Manor Ballroom,

Friday

WITH a name like Los Pistoleros you'd be forgiven for expecting such gun-slinging cowboys to tote a mean western accent alongside their honky-tonk tunes.

In reality, Bobby Valentino and the gang are self-confessed more Leigh-on-sea than Tennessee, rolling into town with loud shirts and a gentle brand of humour which went down well in the cosy space of the Manor Ballroom.

Organisers Peppery Productions specialise in putting on quirky and interesting acts from around the world, and Los Pistoleros are one of their more regular bookings, playing a mixture of Bluegrass, Swing and Honky-tonk while democratically sharing out the spotlight between the band.

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Valentino, the front-man of the group, has clearly polished his image over many years in the trade and is one of the few British acts to have been a modest success in the US heartland of Honky-tonk, a process he proudly proclaimed to the crowd “really is like selling coal to Newcastle”.

He's certainly a mean turn on the fiddle and has a voice which is almost too laid back.

Martin Belmont and Kevin Foster on the other hand (lead guitar and bass respectively), went all out for the gravely kind of singing Valentino was too smooth to try - Foster in particular surprising when he turned from mild-mannered bassist to a beltingly loud singer for his showcase piece.

BJ Cole on the steel guitar - a sit-down instrument similar in size to a Hammond organ which helps give the band its distinctive sound - was excellent, and it was hard not to feel a bit sorry for Jim Russell on the drums, who thanks to a lack of lighting played stoically in semi-darkness for much of the night.

Peppery gigs are always fun, with a loyal audience who are often as much a part of the act as they are witnesses to it - one couple stole the floor early on with a display of jive swing dancing and led the way for others when the night loosened up.

It was the last Peppery gig of the year sadly, but as usual offered a great night out.

SIMON SAUNDERS

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