PC Green & The Traffic Lights consist of (at least):
PC Green & The Traffic Lights are loosely based around Brighton, East Sussex, United Kingdom.
... One thing though that was very apparent was that the band were great - I think there wasn't a single person there who didn't think so, and that became evident at the end; when Rob and I were clearing up we discovered that the upstairs that we had set up so that anyone who wanted to could escape the music a bit was unused, and nobody had sat up there.
Since then I have had numerous conversations and messages all to the same effect - "who were the band?... where are they from?... they were so good". So, brilliant and thanks and I certainly enjoyed it - I have an overiding memory of "The Breeze". Maybe you should play more often? Next time I'm looking for a band I know where to come!
The great British Blues scene is alive and well in hundreds of pubs and back rooms around the country. Blues is a medium where many young guitarists hone their chops and older connoisseurs of the tradition cover the classics, in opposition to Sky TV football and noisy drinkers in the bar. On 2 September Net Rhythms was out and about in Brighton, specifically at the Connaught, Hove, to see PC Green & The Traffic Lights: Rory Cameron and Steve Fairhead, on guitars, backed by a midi sequencer in the absence of the loose affiliation of musicians who regularly join the band, and very good they were too.
On this particular Saturday the music was a top-of-the-class mix of Chicago Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, and favourites (Van Morrison, Little Feat, Eddie Floyd, Robert Parker, the great Stax songwriter William Bell and more). Harmonica and lead vocals from Rory, and really tasty guitars, electric, semi-acoustic, and slide from Steve (lately of Steve Ellis's reformed but in abeyance, Love Affair) would have had me bopping if I hadn't been secretly taping the gig! You need bands like this in your life - and they are there. Take a look.
Steve tells the story of PC Green & The Traffic Lights
Summer 1973: a power-trio of hirsute late teenagers (and hirsute teenagers are always late) combined to merge Cream and Hawkwind into a small tactical nuclear weapon. Named PC Green & The Traffic Lights for no good reason...
Fast forward to summer 1991 and maybe a dozen bands later: I'd been playing with some big blues bands (upto 12 people), and finding it tough - UK licensing laws meant (and still do mean) that a duo can legally play a pub, while 3 or more performers means the venue needs a song-and-dance license - no small thing. Consequence: fewer and fewer licensed band venues. Not to mention the difficulty of getting one musician to be punctual, let alone 12...
So I started playing as a duo, with a drumbox and any available bass player, largely drawing on the music of Peter Green and early Fleetwood Mac. The duo stabilised with the addition of Brian Kellner (aka Surfer Brian) on bass, guitar, and MIDI. Asked for the name of the act early on, I blurted out "PC Green & The Traffic Lights", probably thinking of Peter Green... and it seemed suitably absurd for a duo. We started getting busy: 2 or 3 gigs a week around the Brighton & Hove area (the Wick, the Ranelagh, the Hedgehog and Hogshead amongst others). Certain locals still remember the night we played a 13-minute version of "Superstition"...
Summer 1992: and Brian, being a surfer, was off to Hawaii to catch the waves, dude. I was looking for a new partner; a mutual friend suggested guitarist, singer and harpmaster Rory Cameron - and it kinda clicked. We became even busier, with over 100 gigs over the following year; we were now using MIDI, ably programmed by my new partner, throughout most of the set. For a while we were known as perhaps the cookingest duo in the area... and even had a (small but perfectly formed) regular fanbase. Our material now also drew from the Fabulous Thunderbirds (Rory's influence) and our shared great love, Little Feat.
By October '93 we'd played our last regular duo gig; new challenges beckoned. Rory and I continued to work together on other musical projects, and very occasionally performed again as PC Green & The Traffic Lights, for old times' sake... :) And occasionally we'd find ourselves booked as a full band, and would call on various luminaries of the Brighton scene to augment our forces. Some of those guys sure can play...
So, sometime during Summer 2000 I found myself with some PC Green & The Traffic Lights gigs booked at a venue (the Connaught) with that rare commodity, a full band license. And I was tired of MIDI, and enjoying the interaction with live musicians again - and I'd found a gem of a drummer, Louis Borenius, who I would play with at the drop of a hat... After a few nanoseconds of indecision Rory and I ditched the MIDI, stopped being a duo, and turned into a four-piece with the addition of Louis and old friend Pete Sinden (late of Fischer Z and the Brighton Blues Corporation) on bass. And again, something clicked, not once, but twice more.
So what's special about us? One word: chemistry. I love playing with these guys. We're there to entertain, sure, but there needs to be art, expression, and plain old fun in there too to keep me, at least, interested. There is no question as to the musicianship of these fellas; check out Louis' website - he alone has a musical pedigree as long as your arm. But, more than that, they understand expression, and they're fun to play with. I think it shows; indeed, I believe it makes all the difference.
We're no longer just a pub blues band; I for one am heartily tired of much of the genre. We're getting more eclectic, experimental, and probably more song-oriented, in a raw, earthy, early-Beatles kind of way - and these guys are capable of taking the idea and running with it. But we are always entertaining. It's exciting - it's a new dawn :).
So come and watch some more history in the making!
PC Green & The Traffic Lights have been graced by esteemed special guests including:
PC Green & The Traffic Lights can be contacted via .
hits since 1 May 2000. Last updated: 22 November 2005.
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