When I think of The Libertines, I think of two half cut blokes strumming guitars and stumbling about the stage in some shambling bromance. If you had asked me the names of the band members, I would have struggled other than to offer you Mr Barat and Mr Doherty. 

John Hassall was/is the bass player in that apparently earth breaking garage band. Tonight he performed, as the front man, with his new band The April Rainers at Proud Camden – a converted stables at the North end of the famous market, complete with stalls for horses.


The April Rainers are a slick outfit – gone are the excesses of days in North London. John is now based in Aarhus in Denmark, and he and James Jefferys (guitar) are joined by the Danish rhythm section of Erlend Eggestad on bass and Jakob Bruno, drums.  They sing songs about being on old trains and visiting their Nans (that’s Grandmas for any non-British readers).  John’s band captures the essence of the summer time with songs that tell tales of ladybirds and taking meandering bike rides.  It’s good time music that reminds me of being a kid when the school holidays never seemed to end.

Neatly pressed tunes are delivered by John in his tailored suit and tie – the band could well be sponsored by Fred Perry and would probably win an award for the sharpest cheek bones in London tonight.  Slick harmonies, and Chelsea boots remind me of the mod-revival of the 70s. And there are plenty of nods back to psychedelic bands of the 60s. John has moved out of the garage and is now enjoying his garden.

Not quite the roustabout teenage attitude of The Libertines. (They even ran a raffle to win a 1970’s British Rail worker’s jacket, in support of their song InterCity’). But I like The April Rainers simple approach to song writing – take a childhood experience, add a catchy melody and bingo, you have a set that comes together in the same way as ice cream and a chocolate flake do on a hot day. Not a surprise that one of the highlights of the set was ‘Whether Girl’ (sic) and a couple of days on, I still have the ear-worm ‘Given Time’ stuck in my head. 

John Hassall and the April Rainers
John Hassall and the April Rainers


Set list:

  • Sun in the Afternoon
  • Given Time
  • Whether Girl
  • Persephone
  • Ladybird
  • Julie July
  • Mosey
  • InterCity
  • If I Die
  • Last Scene
  • My Two Wheels
  • 2nd Hand Shoes
  • Runaway

John Hassall and The April Rainers album Wheels to Idyll is released via VAM Records

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Marcus Jamieson-Pond is a regular gig goer in London – to see more photographs visit https://www.jampondphotogaphy.com/gigs

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