The She Street Band


I’ve made the trip 30 miles west from Manchester to catch The She Street Band at the Arts Club, the interior of which sometimes recalls a miniature Ritz. Gigging only since last year, the band describes itself as the world’s first and only all-female Bruce Springsteen cover band.

I go back a long way with The Boss’s music, my earliest pop-musical memory being a love for ‘Dancing in the Dark’. I also remember being a little older and riding my BMX at dusk with that song playing on my Walkman. Tonight I can’t wait to have a good time with some fellow Bruuuuce addicts.

The story goes that bass-playing Tennesseean Jody Orsborn was so awestruck after attending a Springsteen concert a couple of years ago that she soon set about putting together a cover band. With members from four different countries, the band is cheered onto stage tonight as the set begins with ‘Thunder Road’. For me the original is an exhilarating 4+ minutes of just the purest magic, and it’s special to hear the band do the masterpiece full justice. Thunder Road! What a way to start a show!

Assembled before us from left to right on stage we have Clare McGrath (glockenspiel, Ireland), Isabel Lysell (lead guitar, Sweden) on her birthday, Mara Daniele (guitar, USA), Calie Hough (drums, UK), Lynn Roberts (keys, UK), Orsborn (bass, USA) and Yasmin Ogilvie (sax, UK). Most members also contribute vocals. Four songs in and we’re already onto our fourth lead vocalist, and as band decisions go, the rotation of singers feels like a masterstroke because it puts the emphasis on the music instead of personalities.

Celebrating the music of Springsteen is in some ways more natural than other artists because many of the songs themselves are so celebratory and fun. The likes of ‘Rosalita’, ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out’ and ‘Sherry Darling’ have people around me bopping with their friends. But not all of the Boss’s cinematic songs are about working-class guys taking out their gals for a night on the town or folks dreaming of escaping to exciting places, and the Shes show a lot of love to some of the writer’s more pissed-off or disillusioned characters as well, on songs like ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ and ‘The River’.

A special mention has to go to the appearance in the set of ‘Jackson Cage’, one of my favourite songs and a surprise choice because it’s maybe a bit of a lesser-known number. Just the way those verse lyrics flow into the choruses is something else, and these passionate young women perform the song with relish. Omissions from the set that I’d love to hear one day are my number one Boss boogie song ‘I’m Goin’ Down’ and ‘Open All Night’, which would be intriguing with a full-band arrangement.

Orsborn tells us tonight that, as much as the music, it was the friendly and caring vibe of the audience that made such a strong impression on her at that Springsteen gig that so inspired her. I had a similar experience myself one warm spring day at Lancashire Cricket Club when a kind family took me under their wing and shared their picnic when I had attended a Springsteen show alone as a youngster.

I feel like this is a band I would buy tickets to see several times a year for a catch-up singsong and a bit of a dance. A She-Boss fix on a pretty regular basis might be a possibility as well because I note the band is UK-based. The Boss will turn 70 years old next year, but if he does decide to wind down his recorded and performance output sometime soon, his torch will have been passed to some safe hands. McGrath’s top carries the slogan “She Street Queens”. Long may they reign.

Setlist: Thunder Road, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight), Two Hearts, Because the Night, Cover Me, Candy’s Room, Prove It All Night, Growin’ Up, Hungry Heart, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Tougher Than the Rest, Darkness on the Edge of Town, The River, Jackson Cage, Bobby Jean, Sherry Darling
Encore: Badlands, Dancing in the Dark, Born to Run

The She Street Band: Official | Facebook | Twitter

Steve Jones

Apart from about five years in total, I've always lived in Manchester. Shame about the weather and lack of beach, but I do like it here. My all-time favourite gig would have to be The National at the Academy in about 2010, although I did get Matt Berninger's mic cable wrapped around my neck (that was a close one). My guilty pleasures include the music of Bruce Springsteen, and I also felt a bit bad for feeling such joy at seeing Counting Crows live in the early 2000s. I recommend Lifter Puller, a rather obnoxious and unpleasant-sounding band that I can't seem to get enough of, even though they are long disbanded. Amongst my Silent Radio gigs, I was blown away by John Murry. I'll let you know if anything tops that one.