Opinion: The Vive Le Rock Awards 2019 - Josh Bessant/Crooked Little Sons (2/2)

  • April 29th, 2019
  • Written by marcusoz

Read part 1 of our Vive Le Rock write up here.

Since we had Josh Bessant from the charismatic, budding UK rock n’ roll/punk outfit Crooked Little Sons come along to the event, we thought it was only fair that he gave his opinion on the night as well! Here’s his review of the night:



“An amazing night of music, expression and booze. The annual award show is already making waves in only its second year, and with the names and faces Viva La Rock are pulling out, its no surprise why. Talent and legacy is in no short supply tonight. Everywhere you turn whether it be members of bands, industry heads or the general public, everyone is in high spirits and here to enjoy themselves. 

The night kicked off with VLR guv’nor – Eugene Butcher, welcoming patrons with such charm and charisma. Eugene also promise’s that this show is to top last years shenanigans before introducing tonight’s host, someone the other end of the scale, the intense and erratic Edward Tudor-Pole (Tenpole Tudor). 

Eddie captivates the crowd from the first few moments of being on stage, referring to everyone as ‘old bastards’ and generally busting the balls of the Vive Le Rock team, but its all in good fun tho. 

Tudor then introduces the first winner of the night – Barrie Masters of Eddy & The Hot Rods for the ‘Music Pioneer Award’. 

Masters is no stranger to the limelight and since the band’s breakthrough single ‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’ in 1977 the band have built up a number of acknowledgements and accolades. However, this isn’t just another hat tip for Masters, He is genuinely honoured to be receiving the award. You’v earned it lad!    

It was quite odd to attend an award show where the majority of the winners had already been named and put in the program but Viva Le Rock really did make it work. Reeling off winners such as The Blue Carpet Band for ‘Best New Band’ and Lee Thompson (Madness) One Mans Madness for ‘Best Film’ (Oh and what an entertaining speech that was!).

Some categories had a slightly more sombre tone. I of course mean the very sad circumstance that The Beats own Ranking Roger, had passed away not just 24 hours before the award ceremony. The band were up for the ‘Roots – Ska/Rock n Roll/Blues’ award which they of course won, along side Wilko Johnson. The award was collected by Neville Staple of The Specials and Pauline Black of The Selector. Black then took the lead with a touching speech while Staple took a step back to compose himself of this unfortunate situation. But sadness is not the world i’d use to describe this particular part of the night. It was more appreciation. Ranking Rogers and his music will live on and the fans will make sure of that, tonight we simply take our hats off to one of the greats, and it’s not long before the Rock ‘n’ Roll greats take over again and just like that – we realise we are back to an award ceremony. 

Obviously nothing is straight forward in music, nothing is straight forward at award shows and nothing is straight forward when booze is involved… Which presumably is why we now start having the dreaded ‘technical difficulties’…

The Professionals introduce’s our next category for ‘Best Album’ and the competition is fierce with Slaves – Acts Of Fear And Acts of Love and The Interrupters – Fight The Good Fight. But realistically, with all the praise they have earned in the last 12 months, winners IDLES came out on top with there critically acclaimed ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’. Unfortunately the band were playing in Cardiff that night as part of their UK tour but had recorded a message to say thank you… But that’s when those pesky technical difficulties cropped up again…  Jim Jones of the Righteous Mind didn’t seem to care tho, who jumped onto the stage to award Killing Joke ‘Best Live Band’ who fought some still competition in their own category, Including Slaves and The Skids.

It wasn’t just the award’s that was the highlight of the night, but the mix of awards and live performances both brought house down. Upon entering the venue I was treated to the Vive Le Rockers, The house band for the night, and the brilliant Glen Matlock but that was just the start! With the passing of Pete Shelly from The Buzzcocks back in December, Howard Devoto of the group (with help from the VLR house band) treated the audience to a killer 15 minute performance. You think that’s all your getting on the live front? Oh, hell no! 

Islington Academy also welcomed Barrie Masters back to the stage to smash out some Eddie & The Hot Rod’s tracks and ‘Rock Icon’ winner Suzi Quatro closed her set with a balls to the wall Chuck Berry cover, just after treating the audience to a full smattering of her 70’s greats. Suzi Q also has a new record out entitled ‘No Control’ and the reception she received was just raw energy. Other live performances included Penetration’s Pauline Murray who blew the audience away rocking out with Devoto for a few post punk ditty’s 

For me, my personal highlights include… watching performances of songs like ‘Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)’ and ‘Do Anything You Want To Do’ not just live, but with some of the original living legends and seeing the genuine love and friendship between all these artist’s together tonight. Its not just politeness or familiarity, these guys are all under one big Rock ‘n’ Roll umbrella. A scene that stretches back over 45 years, and you can see a that a mile off tonight. Old friends are hanging out, partying and just enjoying each other company as they look back on the movement that they each had a hand in creating. It really is something special. Vive Le Rock, don’t change a thing (well, maybe your tech guy)!

A magazine that has been going since only 2010 and an award show in only it’s second year, one can only imagine what we are in store for in 2020.

Till then, Stay loud.

Josh Crooked x”


Written By: Josh Bessant