BOOTLEG BLONDIE – THE FACTORY LIVE, WORTHING 22.10.21
Bootleg Blondie are the world’s No.1 official Debbie Harry and Blondie tribute band. They started up in 2001 and have played the infamous CBGB club in New York City, the Isle of Wight Festival, the Shepherds Bush Empire, London’s 100 Club and the legendary Hammersmith Palais and appear regularly at many top venues and festivals in the UK, Europe and around the world. Tonight Debbie and her band stopped off in Worthing for a 2 hour set at The Factory Live which is located at 9a Ivy Arch Road, Worthing, BN14 8BX.
Bootleg Blondie are honoured to have been thanked on Blondie’s latest album ‘Pollinator’ and to celebrate 40 years since the release of Blondie’s iconic 1978 album ‘Parallel Lines’ Clem Burke, Blondie’s renowned and celebrated drummer, joined Bootleg Blondie on drums for not one but two UK tours in 2019 covering nearly 5,000 miles and playing to over 7,000 people!
Bootleg Blondie arrive on the South Coast, Worthing at the rather splendid The Factory Live! They were here to deliver a tribute to the New Wave legends, Blondie.
The fairly sizable crowd arrived in plenty of time to get an up close and almost personal show with Bootleg Blondie. Sadly no sign tonight of Clem Burke, Blondie’s drummer, in the venue. That would have been kinda cool! Tonight Bootleg Blondie were going to bring the songs and music of their namesakes to life. Unlike most tribute bands the group have a strong link with Blondie, and have all met the members of the original. They have a signed drum cover and a signed guitar including all the members of Blondie that Bootleg Blondie’s Debbie Harris uses. Little things I know, but it just gives the gig tonight a little of Blondie’s magic touch.
With a mixed age crowd tonight, a back catalogue to choose from and a reputation these guys have as one of the best tribute acts out there. I think it safe to say Bootleg Blondie has the ingredients on hand to serve up a perfect set. This gig had been postponed several times due to the Covid Pandemic and, I think, we were expecting nothing less. We were ready for some dancing and singing and a good night out.
Debbie Harris, lead vocalist of Bootleg Blondie, has got it all – those looks, the voice and dare I say a healthy slice of the attitude of the one and only Debbie Harry.
Debbie Harris has been known to wear dustbin liners, thigh length boots and t-shirts and a series of outfit changes through the performance, perfectly reflecting the varying stages of Debbie Harry’s career. Tonight a bin liner was worn, with “Debbie Does Worthing” written on the back! A nice touch, which drew a good cheer from the crowd.
The band was hot tonight and generated an authentic sound of the Blondie era. Andy on guitars put on a stunning performance. It was a pleasure talking with him after their performance and discussing his lucky setlist. There was also strong percussion from the drum kit and some great bass playing, including a nice bass solo spot. Put these together and they provide a seriously strong support for Andy and Debbie. A nice touch was that both guitar and bass players were dressed in black suits and ties in a ‘Parallel Lines’ homage. The drummer was at one stage wearing an identical shirt that Clem Burke had worn when he joined up on two tours.
A safe bet tonight, one way or another, we are all in for a real good time. Will anything happen?
The Set – started off with a recorded message from Debbie Harry and the band hit the opening of ‘Heart Of Glass’. Debbie Harris took to the stage, I am pretty sure we all took a double take to make sure it wasn’t the real deal that had just walked out. She looked and sounded great. ‘Dreaming’ and ‘11:59’ were up next.
‘Union City Blue’ was up and this was when Debbie strapped on her signed guitar. Lead singer Debbie Harris says her pride and joy is her guitar that she plays during her shows, signed by all the Blondie band members. And, there it was!
‘Atomic’ was a crowd pleaser, and unexpectedly hearing ‘French Kissing In The USA’ was a real treat. I love that song! Set one drew to a close as Debbie appeared from behind the onstage phonebox clutching a wired up telephone for the set close of ‘Hanging On The Telephone’.
After a 20 minute break the band took to the stage again with ‘(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear’ and then launched into the stripped back and punky little tune ‘X Offender’. Again a shout to the drums especially for the power and timing of ‘Fade Away And Radiate’. Stunning rendition. Another Debbie Harry solo track was next with ‘I Want That Man’, which then led into another of my Blondie favourites ‘Maria’. Andy delivers an on point guitar for that one along with leaps and twirls on the stage. ‘Denis’ was up and Debbie Harris vanished again to return in another costume, red top and matching red thigh high boots. ‘Sunday Girl’ was next and the set closed with ‘Call Me’, which definitely had the Factory Live shaking its very foundations.
Picture this, we had been treated to some 30 songs tonight, and Bootleg Blondie still had some fuel in the tank! Two songs were served up as an encore, first was Bowie’s ‘“Heroes”’ and to end the set was the T Rex classic ‘Get It On’. The whole set closes off with the finishing touches of ‘Heart Of Glass’.
All in all this had been a terrific night out. Two hours packed full of songs evoking memories and that whole era. Well played Bootleg Blondie.
A huge shout to the super team at The Factory Live. This really is a little gem of a venue and tonight the sound mix was spot on. The lighting had been upgraded since my last visit and it was wonderful to see all the band members and just the right amount of smoke. First class night guys and cheers to the brilliant security and bar staff folk.
Bootleg Blondie setlist 1:
‘Heart Of Glass’
‘The Tide Is High’
‘Island Of Lost Souls’
‘Union City Blue’
‘Living In The Real World’
‘French Kissing In The USA’
‘Will Anything Happen?’
‘Rip Her To Shreds’
‘Hanging On The Telephone’
Bootleg Blondie setlist 2:
Intro: ‘Thunderbirds Main Them’ by The Barry Gray Orchestra
‘(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear’
‘In The Flesh’
‘One Way Or Another’
‘Fade Away And Radiate’
‘I Want That Man’
‘I’m Gonna Love You Too’
‘“Heroes”’ (David Bowie cover)
‘Get It On’ (T. Rex cover)
‘Heart Of Glass’
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