British rockers The Straits are going back to their Deptford roots. Returning to the Albany, where the original Dire Straits played their first-ever gig in 1977, the newly formed Straits (comprised of former Dire Straits members) will resurrect the band’s much-loved catalogue of hits including Sultans of Swing, Money for nothing, walk of life, Romeo and Juliet and Brothers in Arms.
Saxophonist Chris White, who joined the original band in the early ‘80s and now resides in West Berkshire, is no stranger to London’s south east. “The Albany is very familiar territory for me, I lived in Brockley for seven years and then Sydenham; it’s a very cool area,” he says.
A few members of the Dire Straits reformed a couple of years ago as the Straits for a charity gig. “We were approached to play Dire Straits stuff but Mark (Knopfler) doesn’t want to do this anymore, however we got requests for more shows and it’s just grown from there,” Chris says. “I think the reason we’ve been so well received is because we are playing those old classic songs, largely in the same way, but there’s still a freshness about it.”
The Dire Straits have a “mad, incredibly loyal” fan base, which means every gig is a bit of a reunion, the musician says. “Every gig I perform I see someone I knew in 1985; music is funny in the way it can transport you and people like hearing our stuff again.”
Following a small UK tour, the Straits, who have also recently performed some bigger events in Europe, are heading to Johannesburg next.
Chris’ solo work has seen him playing alongside industry greats including Tom Jones, Robbie Williams, and Paul McCartney. “I did a film with Paul McCartney; he’s really cool to work with and I toured with Joe Cocker; working with other people keeps your fresh and makes you play differently, it’s great,” he says. As for Robbie Williams, he’s in a league of his own, the musician recalls. “Robbie is lots of fun, I have so much respect for him and genuinely think he’s one of this country’s greatest performers. His shows are great and there’s always a lot going on.”
The Straits are performing at the Albany, Douglas Way, SE8 4AG on March 9 from 7:30pm. Admission: £25 in advance. Phone: 020 8692 4446. http://www.thealbany.org.uk