The Barrington Theatre, Ferndown
21 March 2015
Review by Janine Pulford
Dire Streets surpassed all expectations at the Barrington Theatre. Slick guitar player John Brunsdon, the man with the husky tones of a Knopfler-esque voice had me hooked. ‘So Far Away’ took me away to another time, another place with ‘Lady Writer’. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ flowed effortlessly. These were just some of the opening songs. At times, I found Brunsdon’s voice grainier than Knopfler’s and more like Dylan, but it didn’t make a difference. These guys were different, of course they were. There will only ever be one Dire Straits, but this tribute was close, yet it didn’t pretend to be the Straits. They are younger than many other tribute bands and full of energy, particularly the bass guitarist, who I can only compare to a bass version of Pete Townshend of The Who. During ‘The Bug’ he leapt around the stage, spun round in dizzying circles, jumped up and down and did the classic Townshend straight arm strum! It was totally mesmerising and we were warned ‘do not do this at home’. It was like a bass guitar revelation – I’ve never seen one played like that before. Yet, he didn’t miss a note. The band reeled off all the best of Dire Straits including: ‘Love Over Gold,’ Private Investigations’ (a brave song to do) and ‘Sultans of Swing’ which turned into a massive jamming session, that came to a really tight ending. It was superb. People were dancing and my feet wanted to be there too, but being typically British, I didn’t get up. In the break, people were texting to their friends that “These guys are really fantastic” and they were. I was pleasantly surprised by the Barrington acoustics and the sound engineer got it spot on. It’s a well designed theatre for loud music, yet it’s intimate and I felt I knew John Brunsdon,(lead) Dik Chandler (drums), Eoin McQuone (bass), Ed Arnold (rhythm) and Mark Dryden (keyboards) instead of just seeing them in the distance. And with songs like ‘Tunnel of Love, ‘Telegraph Road’ and an encore of ‘Twisting by the Pool’ you have to have those good acoustics. It was a much enjoyed night out. I congratulate the manager of the Barrington, Andy Bryant, for booking regular live bands to satisfy the diverse needs of one of the largest towns in Dorset. I just hope he rebooks Dire Streets as I would love to see them again in Ferndown.