Peter Perrett, The Garage, London

In  the 70s we had the Partridge Family, now we’ve got the Perrett Family. But that’s where the comparison ends.

The Partridges spawned cheesy heart-throb David Cassidy – later to have a life as dysfunctional as Peter Perrett’s seems to have been.

Meanwhile, who knows how this brood will fare? Signs are promising. Pete and the nippers Jamie, on guitar, and Pete junior on bass, put on a sparky show that must have surprised even the most die-hard fan.

Stripped of his fellow Only Ones, the substitution of his sons and a drummer, Jake Woodward, could have backfired badly, or seemed like a clapped-out has-been was looking for attention.

But that was to underestimate the sons’ potency.

Not having heard any of their songs, their warm-up act Strangefruit – nice nod to Billie Holiday there – offered a decent taste of Jamie and Junior’s own work. ‘Psych’ rock, whatever that is. Half an hour’s worth, and it was good.

And though dad overshadowed them just by virtue of past achievements and the fact that we wouldn’t have been in Highbury had it not been for him flicking a few switches on for us (not a drugs metaphor) back in 1978, it was the band that was quietly impressive as Perrett did most of the usual favourites.

One omission was Miles from Nowhere – well, I did name this blog after the track and still find myself singing the chorus in my head.

But no complaints really. The band was genuinely worth seeing, if you have any doubts – as I did – as to the merits of seeing Only Ones songs being played by Other Ones. Compared to his skeletal appearance in 2007 when his milky pallor and death rattle vocals were a shock, Perrett looks a different person. Healthy, even.

His arms were thicker – he’s obviously been eating a bit better – and the voice, if anything, was stronger. The unfeasibly flourishing hair cascade was Cassidy-esque.

The boys? Well, Junior reminds me of a tranquilised Wilko Johnson – he was very understated and unobtrusive on bass – and Jamie sports a sunny country lad look, like he’s fresh out of lying down in a haystack, not a care in the world. The only ‘Only One’ I’ve seen look quite happy on stage. A stark contrast to John Perry that’s for sure.  

Peter Perrett, The Garage
Set list posted by Mr Perrett on Facebook

The band’s youth worked wonders – they’ve breathed new life into Perrett’s back catalogue. Would we have been ready for another retread with Kellie, Mair and Perry? I dunno, they’ve been there, done that.

Somehow, this quartet were bang on the money – they didn’t try anything new and renditions of songs were true to the original. You didn’t feel like there was something missing. In itself, that’s a tribute to the ‘new generation’ Only Ones.

Liked the introduction to The Beast: “Most people think my songs are about drugs but that’s not true – they’re about people. But this one IS about drugs.”

Well I never.

That was the highlight for me. Other stand-outs were Flaming Torch, Why Don’t You Kill Yourself? and the three featured on the vid above.

And I can’ t be the only one who still, STILL, nearly 40 years on, gets a surging bodily thrill, a charged physiological reaction, from hearing Another Girl, Another Planet. Somehow, drug-like, mere notes, rhythms, twanged strings, a tune that surely defies all song-writing knowhow and logic, passes into your bloodstream to quicken the heart.

Perrett, sprogs and Jake play Manchester on August 15 and The Fleece in Bristol on August 29.

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