A strange night in Kings Cross. The wind was howling and a huge queue was standing in the freezing rain outside Kings Place for a night of Americana sponsored by the Americana Music Association UK. Oops – the huge queue was for Prince who had rolled up for an unexpected show and I strolled in for a show by Police Dog Hogan and the Vagaband that might not have had the fervour of the Minneapolis Minx but was packed out with a wide range of types to enjoy a couple of hours of excellent, mainly acoustic, music that really brought a smile to their faces.

First up were The Vagaband who feature a trumpet playing accordionist (Hugh Stanners) amongst their 8 players and Ali Houiellebecq who manages to make the recorder sound musical as well as playing sax. Flute and clarinet. They sit in a place that crosses over Roots. Country and even Blues but with a strong Folk feel underpinning and they went down really well with the crowd. On any other night they would be a strong headline act and they filled their slot with some superb music.

Police Dog Hogan are something else! If they weren’t such good musicians one might think that they were a comedy outfit but the fact is that they are all superb musicians who just happen to have other day jobs.
They consist of:

James Studholme – lead vocals, guitar
Pete Robinson – vocals, lead guitar, dobro
Eddie Bishop – violin, vocals
Tim Dowling – banjo, vocals
Tim Jepson – mandolin, vocals
Adam Bennette – bass
Michael Giri – drums, vocals

and a number of those names will be memorable for other reasons – Tim Dowling is a columnist for the Guardian newspaper, James Studholme is a founder and director at Blink Productions, Eddie Bishop is a QC (superior barrister), Peter Robinson writes for the Telegraph and Tim Jepson has a number of Rough Travel guides under his belt and Adam Bennette is a technical director at Electronic Theatre Controls.

They play Americana with a great deal of humour either in the between the song chats (jokes about banjos abound) or in the songs themselves but always with terrific playing and great team spirit. If they didn’t play as well as they do the songs would fall flat but the crowd was kept amused and entertained for over an hour by Police Dog Hogan and and they did a great deal of good for the Americana cause in the UK.