"Three Dates With… Face Value" By Alan Hewitt.

I have always enjoyed a good tribute band gig but the three gigs I am reviewing here showed different facets of what it is like to be in one of these bands. Face Value are probably the hardest working tribute band currently in the UK with an average of fifty gigs a year up and down the country.

The gig at The Oxford Arms in Maybank near Newcastle Under Lyme is a regular one and always well attended and this was to be no exception. Arriving with the band in order to render my usual roadying hindrance (oops… Assistance!) it was obvious that this gig was popular; there were even punters outside while we were setting up!

The gig itself featured the usual array of classics from the Collins era of Genesis and those from Phil's incredible solo repertoire too and track such as Mama and In The Air Tonight were performed with gusto and verve by John, Tony and Will . A great reception was given by the appreciative crowd to all of the material and there was even a nod back to the Gabriel era with a stonking version of I Know What I Like which had myself and certain other members of the audience (yes; this means YOU Dale!) and rounded off the show in fine style.

Moving on a few days and yours truly is on the road again to another salubrious haunt; the V Bar in Leek in Derbyshire which is a glorious part of the country at any other time apart from the depths of December! A strange venue and a hideous load-in up an extremely slippery set of stairs but who said being a roadie was glamorous? Certainly not me! Plenty of floor space… almost too much as it turned out and a mad hunt for an open chip emporium to feed the inner man before showtime.

A very disappointing turn-out in terms of numbers which was not helped by the fact that a neighbouring hostelry had decided to put on a Bryan Adams tribute the same night… ah well no accounting for taste (or lack of it!) Once again, the boys turned in a good show but it was dogged by several technical problems which they eventually overcame and it was this very professionalism that impressed me the most. It must have been a nightmare to be on that stage but you would never have known it and that is the mark of a true professional. A small audience turned into a vociferous one by the end of the gig and it was strange to have people thanking ME for getting the guys here… fortunately I pointed them in the right direction … the three MUSICIANS on the stage!

Moving on a week and another gig , at a venue which is a firm favourite with the band but one which I had never been to before… The Stag's Head in Goosnargh near Preston. A traditional English pub this…. I instantly felt at home and after a few pints of Winter Warmer I felt even more at home! I was astonished when the manager arrived with hot turkey and stuffing baguettes and chips and a free pint for all of us shortly after we arrived!

Once again, the place was packed with an enthusiastic crowd who obviously had seen these guys before and who enjoyed every song that the band performed. Standing room only at this one and no space for the usual I Can't Dance routine or the singalong for I Know What I Like but nonetheless a great gig to round off another exceptional year of shows by Face Value and ones which they can be justifiably proud of - they were asked to give 100% and they gave 110% - I'm proud of you, guys!

Here's to the next one!