Highway M.C. Clubhouse
Saturday 8 November 2003

Just a few jottings to try to piece together one of the best rock performances I have seen in a long time – and I have seen some killers lately. Alcohol has blurred my memory so rather than a full review these notes are more just my recollection.

Following Pubert Brown Fridge Occurrence and Penny Ikinger at the Camperdown Bowling Club (covered here) The Barman and I and ten or so companions decided to head off to some biker club house to see Ian Rilen. After about half an hour of drunken wanderings we eventually found the place – the host bikers gave us the once over and said "up the stairs".

Once up the stairs we found a cosy well-stocked bar dark lights and a small stage where Ian Rilen and his band were ripping it up like you wouldn’t believe. The line up was Rilen on vocals and guitar, Mick Cocks on guitar, John Schofield on bass Simon Cox on drums and Andy Thompson on sax – suffice to say they were pumping out some of the finest, dirty sleazy rock I have been privileged to witness in many a long day (or night).

This is a different beast to the full on assault of X – Ian taking swapping his bass for a guitar and delivering the lyrics in a throaty rasp reminiscent of Tom Waits (although Ian swears he drinks and smokes more than Tom Waits) combined with the band the sound was brooding, melodic, sleazy and powerful that went like a hot wire straight to the pleasure centre of the brain.

Highlights of the set included a new song called "Mobile Phone" (complete with "Smoke on The Water" sax solo) and some older examples of Mr Rilen’s songwriting: "Rock 'n' Roll Man", "Steal It", "Got to Get Out of This Town" and "Bad Boy for Love". The whole show was flawless – unfortunately my memory isn’t!

This was a journey to rock and roll nirvana – it simply doesn’t get better than this. If you get the chance go and check out Ian Rilen – you won’t regret it. - Richard Sharman