Ian Prowse, Barrelhouse Ballroom Totnes, 2nd June 2017

I did not put up a blog post this weekend because I was away in Totnes.  I was really surprised that Ian Prowse from Pele and Amsterdam had chosen to appear there.  It was also an opportunity to take my wife away as she found the folk-rock work of Ian Prowse much more palatable than the walls of distortion, feedback and reverb at gigs I would regularly attend.

We got to the Barrelhouse and watched the support, which was singer/guitarist from Plymouth.  Unfortunately the support had to compete with a very talkative audience at the bar.  I ended up feeling very sorry for him.


Ian took to the stage and led the audience through and anthology of work.  There was a selection from; Pele Raid the Palace, Amsterdam  Does This Train Stop On Merseyside? and solo work My Name is Dessie Warren. There were many songs that inspired me to seek out the Amsterdam backcatalogue as I am not very familiar with it.  The interaction with the crowd was great, Ian recounted many stories about the inspirations behind some of the songs, being top of the charts in South Africa and childhood holidays in Totnes.

The highlight of the evening was Does This Train Stop On Merseyside? it is a song that is so much better live and the audience were all singing their hearts out to this.  John Peel said that he was moved to tears everytime that this was played.  I was surprised that there was a cover of The Clash’s London Calling in the set.  This was a bold move as no one can really pull off a Clash song except themselves, but I was thankfully surprised and eventhough the cover was faithful to the original it was another gem in the live set.

At the end of the gig I went for the obligatory selfie with the performer.  This was when my wife said, “Russell saw you live in 1991″.”  Upon further research it was actually 8th February 1992.  I said that it was at The Joiners Arms in Southampton where I had seen him 25 years ago.

Ian’s reply was, “The Joiners Arms, the world’s biggest stage.”

The 25th Anniversary edition of Pele’s Fireworks is available from Ian’s site


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