Tuesday 15 May 2018

North Finchley Festival Highlights - The False Dots live at The Bohemia - Sunday 9pm

If you are around North Finchley on Sunday night at around 9pm, you have the choice of two awesome bands to watch. At the Elephants head, there is the amazing Kado. They are an amazing Jazz funk band and I am gutted to be missing them.

Unfortunately for me, I've got another appointment just down the road. I will be playing with my own band, the False Dots, at the Bohemia. We will be the main support to the awesome Silencerz, who feature Lee Thompson from Madness on Saxophone.  Normally you'd have to shell out big wonga to see Lee play, so to see him for free is a real treat!

Music has always been my number one passion in life. I founded the band in 1979 and we performed our first gig in 1980. It was a hastily arranged gig for Rock Against Racism. A chaotic affair, we borrowed Dav, the drummer from Alan Warner of the Foundations and our singer didn't bother to turn up! Despite all of that it was a brilliant night and it gave me the bug.

As a sixteen year old, the concept that I'd still be playing 38 years later would have seemed a little strange, but here we are. The lineup we play with now was our 1985 lineup, augmented by Fil Ross on bass guitar. Last Saturday, we performed at our singer, Allen Ashley's 60th birthday party at the Kings Head in Enfield. When Allen isn't singing with the False Dots, he is an author and poet and he runs various writing groups across Barnet and Enfield. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that quite a few stalwarts of various Barnet campaigns I've supported and many Barnet Eye readers are also members of the various writing groups Allen runs. Allen hadn't told them that the Dots were performing (in fact many didn't know he was our singer, as they simply knew him from the writing group). It was an excellent night. Perhaps the most touching moment was when Allen's wife Sarah presented a book she'd put together with contributions from his writing group.

Of course The False Dots are a completely different beast from Allens literary and poetic activities. Although our songs are finely crafted, we are a full on Rock and Roll band with a long pedigree. I daresay a few of Allens writing group would have been surprised to see a completely different side to Allens personality. The False Dots have put the finishing touches recently to our forthcoming album "Songs of Love and War" and will be previewing these, along with some newer material at the show on Sunday.

As well as Allen we have Fil Ross on Bass. Fil has played bass with the band since 1998 and is also wicked lead guitarist. His other band, The Rock and Roll Sons will be headlining at The Elephants Head on Saturday at 10pm. Fil is always value for money. A brilliant live performer. Anyone who has seen the False Dots or the Rock and Roll sons will testify that there is no shoegazings at our gigs!

The False Dots in Belgium 1985
I must also say a word about Graham Ramsey, our long time drummer. Graham is a force of nature. He has probably played with more bands in the London Borough of Barnet than any person alive. At our last public gig at The Midland Hotel, he played with the support KatManDo and then jumped up for an impromptu set with The Hamptons, as they were short of a drummer. When I first met Graham, he was one of the Mill Hill East mods. Paul Marvin, son of the legendary Hank introduced me to him in early 1980, in awed tones "Graham is the best drummer in North London".

The False Dots 2018
I immediately wanted Graham to join the band, but he was with a very successful band called the B'zukas, wheras we had yet to play a gig. Eventually I persuaded Graham to join in 1985, at the same time as Allen. Graham immediately showed what he brought to the band in terms of musical creativity. He isn't someone to just tap along in the background. His drumming is all about dynamics and creativity. Unlike 99% of drummers he plays an active role in arrangements, adding dynamism and beats that on one else on the planet would play. As well as the creative input, I also quickly found out that Graham was also ambitious. He managed to blag The False Dots onto a trip to Belgium at the end of 1985 (see picture above). Graham to this day continues to blag the Dots and all of the other bands he's involved with onto gigs all over the place.

The False Dots are in some ways almost unique. All of us are involved in other musical/creative projects. All of us are outspoken, opinionated, all from very different backgrounds. Whilst you may think this would cause musical differences, in fact it has built a huge mutual respect. Musically we all push each other onwards and upwards. I think the material we've written in the last few years is the best of our career. If you come down on Sunday night and you enjoy live music, you will not be disappointed. Here is a little sample of what you will be missing if you decide to stop in and listen to The Archers on iPlayer! This is a very live video!

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