Darren Stockford

Sin city: Dan Baird & Homemade Sin live at the Borderline, London, 20 October 2006

Dan Baird and Homemade Sin live at the Borderline, London, 20 October 2006If you’re looking for an objective view of the show that Dan Baird and his band Homemade Sin played at the Borderline in London yesterday, you’ve come to the wrong place. For me, it was a night of beer drinking, hardcore foot tapping and scrunched-faced singing along - to arm-hair-raisingly good songs, many of which were my rock ‘n’ roll education when I first heard them in my teens. It’s hard to stand back and gaze at Dan Baird with anything but awestruck wonder.

The Georgia Satellites, the band that Dan once co-fronted, are my Ramones, my Replacements - the one rock ‘n’ roll combo I can honestly point to and say ‘they changed my life’. They’re the only band that, as an adult, I’ve wanted to ape - in my late teens, I harboured fantasies of having my own band that did everything the Sats’ way - and a part of me still holds out hope that, one day, the classic Satellites line-up will reunite. If they do, they’d damned well better cross the Atlantic.

Thankfully, that’s something that Dan Baird has done now so often that he’s practically an honorary Brit. America hasn’t seen half as much live action from him in recent years as Europe has. Granted, it took him eight years to come back after the shows he played in support of 1992’s Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired album, but his UK tours are now as regular as clockwork. The last few have even included one Mauro Magellan on drums, meaning that what we have here in Homemade Sin, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly one half of the Georgia Satellites.

Dan Baird and Homemade Sin live at the Borderline, London, 20 October 2006It’s also three quarters of the band that played on Dan’s first two solo albums, as bassist Keith Christopher (also an ex-Satellite and a member of The Yayhoos) is here too. The final piece of the jigsaw is guitar god Ken McMahan, who’s made himself indispensable over the last few years - not least by pulling off a splendid version of the iconic solo in Sheila, one of Rick Richards’ finest moments (the original is as perfect a solo as you’re ever likely to hear and needs to be treated with extreme care in the live situation).

So that’s the tech specs out of the way. I’ll now regale you with some highlights.

I knew that it had been a successful night when, post-show, my friend Jason set off towards the bar in search of a light for a cigarette. He gave up smoking years ago but was clearly infected by the need to inhale as much old-time rock ‘n’ roll spirit as he could. Meanwhile, I’d accidentally (cough) strayed two pints over my usual, and proudly lightweight, three. It’s daft to measure this stuff in cliches, but it’s sometimes fun to be daft.

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