The Secret Police
Tropic at Ruislip
Ruislip Social Club
Sunday 26th January 2014
By popular demand ‘The Secret Police’ were back for a third gig in as many years for Tropic at Ruislip. I saw them play a brilliant show here on June 7th 2013 and have seen them a couple of times before, so was excitedly looking forward to seeing them again.
I wasn’t disappointed. In a barnstorming double set, The Secret Police, billed as ‘the world’s longest running and most respected Police tribute band’ fully lived up to expectations. They raced through a terrific repertoire of ‘The Police’ greatest hits, ‘Walking on the moon’, ‘Roxanne’, ‘So Lonely’, ‘Message in a bottle’ and much more, including many of their album tracks. Not just any old album tracks either. They had the happy knack of picking some of the best one’s such as ‘Bring on the Night,’ played so memorably with fine guitar solo and drumming building up the mood and tension until the singing kicked in. Beautiful.
It was great to hear ‘Tea in the Sahara’, a song that showcased the brilliant guitar playing of Michael Findley and the subtle, but beautiful, rhythmic drumming of his brother Cam Findley. ‘Driven to tears’ sounded great too.
‘Invisible son’, ‘Spirits in the material world’, ‘Every breath you take’ all sounded superb. The only criticism I’d make in the first set was that the sound control wasn’t correctly set and the singer’s (John Green) voice sounded far too loud compared to the rest of the band. Fortunately during the interval that was sorted out and that produced a far more even sound during the second set.
For the second set, John joked that there’d be no more album tracks played, “just the 27 hits!” Neither I or the audience had any problem with the album tracks, so no apology necessary. Tropic of Ruislip specialises in tribute bands and I sensed the majority of the audience were probably hard care police fans, who would have known every single album, track by track.
The floor was filled mainly with middle aged men during the first set. During the second set, more women took to the dance floor and livened things up amongst the more staid gathering of men, with their energetic dancing. I think it would have helped if earlier on in the gig, John Green cajoled the men to dance a bit more and to get those sitting on the sidelines up out of their seats and dancing away.
It’s funny, as you wouldn’t really associate The Police with being a dance band, but a lot of the tracks were played with such passionate gusto and rhythm that you just wanted to get up and dance. It’s certainly not intended as a sit down gig.
I loved the fact the band played many of the hits and best album tracks and played them in their entirety, with great solo’s showing of the drummer’s (Cam Findley) and guitarist’s (Mike Findley) musicianship. That was a real joy to behold and not at all indulgent or boring, which sometimes can be the case at a live gig. You know, that moment in the gig when you go and get a drink!
Sting is famed for encouraging audience participation with his “Eeeoooo’s, and chorus sing-a-long’s and we had plenty of that from John during the big hits ‘Walking on the moon’ and ‘Message in a bottle.’ Those moments were amongst the highlights for me as it got the audience fully participating in the show.
Ruislip Social Club (home of Wealdstone Football Club) is a great place to see live music. The promoters put on weekly gigs of the highest quality. I saw the fantastic Rod Stewart Experience in July 2013 and plan to see more bands there in 2014.
This was a fantastic show. I loved it. The audience loved it. It would be interesting to see them in a much larger venue, perhaps an outdoor venue. To hear all that in a far wider space with space for the music to breathe and echo around would be quite something. I think the passion of their music and singing would lend itself very well to that. I can’t wait to see them again.
© Review and Photographs – Tiemo Talk of the Town