Kicking things off

"He's got good shoes / He's got sticky fingers / Dancing around till the carpet gets thin". Apt for this campaign, as Pete & Co. got into collaboration with Clarks Originals, the rockstar's cobbler this February.

Pete and the Pirates exorcized their billy-no-mates Valentine's Day demons (brothers Tom and Pete spent it together) by playing a set of mainly romantic cuts to a packed shop with fans ranging from Charlotte, 26, a Pete and the Pirates groupie who had followed them from Paris, to suited West End risk analysts who left “F***ing impressed by how good they were”. Praise indeed?

The Pirate crew had been preparing their show all morning, and they arrived saying they had plumped for a 'highly experimental' format. The initial shock of the Pirates playing without drums certainly was considerable - and they began somewhat shakily with 'Knots' - a thrumming LA Woman start then never quite coalesced into the cooing (although there were coos) joy-sheen crescendo.

Things warmed up however, and by their third song lead singer Tom, exerting a hard authority to their sound, had turned the crowd and a well-cast spell came down on the room. By now the rain had blurred the view of the Quadrant and people were sifting in fast.

The band played behind a chalk-covered black board bearing the names of the various luminaries who had worn Clarks, from the Wu-Tang to the Arctic Monkeys; Tom and his brother wore matching top-button fastened shirts, while Tom played an acoustic guitar which looked like it had been designed by BLU. Due to space constraints the percussion was limited to electric pads tentatively poked by Pete, to very good effect to be fair.

Some excellent song-writing came on show with 'Can't Fish' - "Down in the street the lightbulbs explode" freewheeled Tom, to a strong reaction from the crowd. Best song of the gig. More heart break to follow, with Tom's 'She Doesn't Belong To Me' "It's so cold this morning / I'm still stuck inside my dream". Not quite what Clash want to hear, on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, in February, the day after a solitary Valentine's Day, but we forgive you mate.

A Pete and the Pirates classic, 'Blood Gets Thin', drew a strong response from the crowd, implementing some simple electro and pathos lyric: "Here she comes she'll suck me in / You could be my only friend / Here she comes she's cool like sand / I can feel my blood get thin", drawing to a hiatus and then returning with its sexy signature drone.

Then came 'Come to the Bar', the killer hook that got Clarks Originals all moist inside: "He's got good shoes..." came the line, but Pete and his scurvy mob didn't - they hadn't got their dessies on yet, soon they did and the crowd, happy in turn with their freebie, left sated. Piccadilly whipped - not bad for a Tuesday before tea.

Words by Miguel Cullen

Find out more about Clarks Originals 'Original And Live' gig series on HERE.

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