Back in the summer I had the immense pleasure to interview Paul Young, who will forever be a vital part of my Christmas, as well as that of many millions around the world, for his role as the first voice in, ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’. As I discovered when speaking to him however, Paul Young is a many-faceted person, and one of his many facets is his Tex-Mex band, Los Pacaminos, who played at London’s Borderline venue on Thursday night.
I will openly admit that I had no real clue what I was letting myself in for when I bought my ticket a few weeks back, but I had a good idea, just going by their album names (the second one in particular, ‘A Fistful Of Statins’), that the evening was going to be a lot of fun. I wasn’t wrong.
Los Pacaminos was formed in November 1992, in their words, “as an antidote to the bleak English winter.” The band comprises seven members, some of the best known names in the music industry, from a wide range of backgrounds, the best known of course is frontman Paul Young. The band have all played with some of Paul’s other bands in the 80s and 90s, and they came together over a shared passion for Border, Tex-Mex, and Americana music.
The evening opened with support from Sarah Vista, known to regulars at The Borderline for her work behind the bar, but also a top notch country artist herself. Sarah had her own fans there as well as the rest of us who were there for Los Pacaminos, and her show was definitely fun and she put on a fabulous performance. She has a new single out on January 16, ‘Get Three Coffins Ready’, which has a great B side as well, ‘Now, You Are Sleeping’. Sarah’s style is definitely country, but it’s funny with it as well, and we all had a marvellous time (and laugh) along with her. Sarah’s band is worth mentioning as well – Sheriff Emma Goss on Double Bass, Brian Nevill on Drums, and Jeff Mead on Steel and Baritone Guitars.
You can find out more about Sarah Vista from her Facebook page. Check out this clip of ‘Now, You Are Sleeping’:
After some setting up of the stage, which took a while, as there’s seven band members to accommodate – we saw some white hats in the shadows over by the stage door. Finally, walking on to some very appropriate western music, came Los Pacaminos, who broke into the instrumental track, ‘Razor Wire’, from their second album, ‘A Fistful of Statins’. This was followed up by ‘Highway Patrol’, a very raucous and loud song which features a great slide guitar siren sound. Written by Jamie and Drew Barfield it’s from their eponymous first album.
The audience was a mixed bunch, a lot of whom had seen the band many times in the past – and special mention must go to the Italian family whose visit to London was planned to coincide with this concert, the father being a Paul Young fan who had seen him perform live many times over the years, and who had seen Los Pacaminos a number of times as well.
The first set was composed of ten songs, including a beautiful cover of Ry Cooder’s ‘Little Sister’, ‘The Girl From Tennessee’, and the audience interactive, ‘Saved’ – every time the band sang “saved” we had to raise our hands. Much fun!
The band went off for a short interval, during which time I chatted to Radar, the band’s backline engineer (for want of a better word – the dude who handles the instruments and amplification). He’s worked Los Pacaminos for 14 of their nearly 25 years (they commemorate their silver anniversary next year) and loves it – and the band. Radar said that there’s a great swathe of musical history in the group, and he’s not wrong. Quite apart from Paul Young, the band features Drew Barfield, who shares lead vocals with Paul and Jamie Moses, and plays guitar. Drew shares writing duties with Paul and Jamie, and has additionally written songs for Go West, Joe Jackson, Level 42, and of course, Paul Young. Jamie Moses, who’s on guitar and mandolin (the subject during the night of a quip from Paul that it didn’t cover much), is an accomplished session player, and has worked with Sir Tom Jones, Queen, The Pretenders, Mike & The Mechanics, Chaka Khan, Gary Barlow, Tony Hadley, Pete Townshend, and Dave Stewart….oh and Paul Young. Other members include Melvin Duffy on steel guitar, who was tucked up way at the back of the stage, and was difficult to take photos of (my apologies!), Mark Pinder on drums, David Levy on bass, and Steve Oakham, an amazing keyboardist and accordion player whose talents I was tremendously impressed with.
After their break, the band continued in fine form and started set two with ‘Jump Back Baby’, the second track from ‘A Fist Full Of Statins’. With lead vocals by Drew it’s a laid back track and the perfect opener.
Los Pacaminos played somewhere in the vicinity of 22 songs over a space of a hugely energetic 2 hours, including the encore, ‘La Bamba’. I was absolutely shattered by the end of it all but it was most definitely worth it, and I’m certainly looking forward to my next opportunity to see this incredible band.
Keep a watch on Los Pacaminos’ official website, for further details of when they’re performing near you. They’re also on Twitter and Facebook. You can buy their albums, ‘Los Pacaminos’ and ‘A Fistful Of Statins’, as well as other merchandise, from their store.