The Soho Hobo at Groucho Club
The Groucho Club was the venue for The Soho Hobo (Tim Arnold) to showcase his choice cuts from his forthcoming album entitled The Soho Hobo. The venue was well chosen as it consisted of the cream of his target audience – people who are from and frequent Soho. The alias comes from Arnold’s lineage as the third generation of entertainers and musicians hailing from Soho (as we are jovially told by the evening’s MC, Jud Charlton, who boisterously introduces the band in the style of a circus tamer).
The music made by The Soho Hobo is old-style rock ‘n’ roll jam, with an able backing band consisting of Hugo Degenhardt (drums), Kit Mlynar (saxophone) and Clifford Slapper (piano), with The Soho Hobo performing on the guitar and singing. The group were joined at the Groucho Club by special guests, actor Phil Daniels (performing the first of two duets with Mr Arnold in his cockney “Park Life” style) and ex-Eastenders star Jessie Wallace, who performed the second. For Windmill Girls, Arnold brought on stage Miss Giddy Heights (Lydia Piechowiak), who performed a rendition of a fan dance as Arnold sang about the decline of the art form.
The main downside of the otherwise fairly enjoyable evening was the cramped and hot atmosphere of the bar room converted into a live music venue, and the oppressive miasma of different perfumes and aftershaves. This made the whole situation rather uncomfortable and the view very restricted.
The storytelling style of the music was a little hard to follow, due to a poor sound mix and the room’s acoustics – and not least the puzzling way the stories were told. The emphasis of the lyrics aimed to prove the singer’s knowledge of the area, quoting a lot of street names, shops and their history, but it came across as just a bit labored and largely self-referential. Perhaps you have to be from Soho to understand the appeal.
For further information and future events visit the Soho Hobo’s website here.