Slim Chance

         The band (left to right)) Steve Simpson, Charlie Hart, Steve Bingham, Alun Davies and Colin Davey

Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne - 8th June, 2013

When I heard that Slim Chance were arriving in Wimborne at the height of the town’s folk festival my imagination slipped into overdrive.

What amazing possibilities could be in store? This brilliant band of travelling troubadours surrounded by a couple thousand folk dancers. It seemed so close to the original ethos of Slim Chance.

Formed in the 1970s by the late and much lamented Small Faces/Faces bassman Ronnie Lane, the band would arrive at gigs in a convoy of fairground and circus buses surrounded by fire-eaters, jugglers and clowns.

In the event the Folk Festival kept its distance as the 21st century incarnation of Slim Chance slipped into the town’s Tivoli Theatre on Saturday night, played a haphazard set dogged by sound problems and slipped quietly out again.

It was a shame because when Lane’s inspirational band was re-established a couple of years ago by original members, fiddle player Charlie Hart, guitarists Steve Simpson and Alun Davies, bass player Steve Bingham, drummer  Colin Davey and longtime friend the keyboard player Geraint Watkins it quickly became clear that the spirit of the original was still very much present.

Everything was set on Saturday for a great night. Top players (between them they’ve performed with everyone from Van Morrison to Eric Clapton, Cat Stevens to Carl Perkins) with a common loathing for the stifling corporate ways of the music business, intent on an evening of fine music and gentle fun. It could have been fantastic.

They certainly played great songs. Classic numbers from the Ronnie Lane years like The Poacher, Debris, One For the Road and How Come. There were covers too, including Dylan’s When I Paint My Masterpiece. Beautiful performances with a lot of sublime interplay.  Sadly the muddy sound - only partially corrected in the second half - did for the atmosphere.

Maybe next time?

Jeremy Miles

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