“Lewes hosts banjo-playing Guardian columnist” ought hardly to be news in a town where folk music and opinions are as ubiquitous as window putty. But the arrival of Police Dog Hogan, together with their much vaunted promotional tea-towels, proved a sensation.
An exuberant, foot-stomping collision of bluegrass and quality dad-rock, the seven-piece band combined a sort of stadium-size declamatory zeal with the kind of winsome self-deprecating humour that catches country music with its pants down on the freeway. At times they sounded a bit like Deacon Blue shouting to get served at a rodeo. Other times they were like the Pogues – but they sing better and have nicer manners.
Songs such as S***ty White Wine (£3.99) and a lament about the perils of barbecuing inevitably struck a chord with the Lewes audience; if only the chattering classes could have piped down a bit, we’d have been able to make more of the quieter, lyrical moments too.
For novelty aside, Police Dog Hogan (banjo, electric & acoustic guitar, drums, bass, mandolin, beautiful fiddle and a guest trumpet) have serious range, something Lewes’s own small and mighty Union Music Store have rather cannily spotted and signed them up for their next album.