Sam Avery

Sam Avery

2005: Runner-up in the North West Comedian Of The Year competition and finalist in the Leicester Mercury Comedian Of the Year
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Sam Avery: Rock And Dole

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

Tonight, he may be playing to a couple of dozen people in a Manchester basement bar, but Sam Avery was once destined for much bigger things. For this affable Liverpudlian stand-up was once the bassist in no lesser band than Dirty Blue Hook.

Never heard of them? Well, dBh, as a very small number of metal-heads might remember them, were genuinely on the cusp of fame. They had a record deal with BMG, appeared on Top Of The Pops 2 and supported Mötorhead at the Brixton Academy – all when Avery was just 17 years old.

Rock And Dole is the engaging story of how he went from delivering papers to tasting the rock-star life – and back again almost as quickly. It’s a tale that highlights the mercurially fickle music business where a single bad gig is seemingly all that stands between huge success and utter obscurity.

Avery proves an entertaining guide through his own tale, taking us from early, awkward gigs to how a bunch of naïve teenagers were given £30,000 to record an album with a legendary producer and marketed as the hardest grindcore band in Britain, even though they were mild-mannered boys from a middle-class suburb.

He could, perhaps, play up the comedy in this discrepancy more, but Avery generally plays with a straight bat, letting the story tell itself without embellishment or tagged-on gags. Some – but not all – of the anecdotes have inherent comic value, but since he admits that as an aloof youth he took this incredible opportunity for granted, he’s not going to start gilding the lily now.

Yet the story is inherently interesting, and he’s an upbeat raconteur with the experience and poise to hold a room. He needed large reserves of that to deal with a disruptive front row – a tipsy and attention-seeking quartet of lads, rather than anything too malicious – but his barrage of good-natured put-downs failed to totally silence them, and they were politely ejected.

Still, it makes quite a change from 4,000 Mötorhead fans yelling abuse and lobbing piss-filled projectiles, so you can understand the appeal of the simpler, more meritocratic world of stand-up, where Avery now makes a living. More a ‘personality’ comic than gagsmith, his smooth and friendly style certainly befits this autobiographical yarn.

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Published: 20 Oct 2011


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