Futuresound Presents...

His Lordship

+ Guests

His Lordship live by night. A siren will sound, and they will strip off their street clothes, revealing their superhero costumes beneath: sharp black suits, starched white shirts, and Chelsea boots polished till they gleam. They will descend, into the dark spaces beneath the streets, into speakeasies and clubs where the lights are low and the air hangs heavy with whiskey fumes. There will be a small stage at one end of the room, a couple of amps, a couple of mics and a drum kit. And there His Lordship will do their work. The devil’s work, or the Lord’s work? Who knows? Not even they can be sure, or even care.

His Lordship have walked the earth for decades now. They have taken many names. His Lordship have been Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent. They have been Charles Connor beating out the tattoo at the start of Keep-a-Knockin’. They have been Link Wray and Hasil Adkins and Dick Dale. They have been the Count Five and the Litter and the Sonics. They have been Ramones and Dr Feelgood and Robert Gordon. They have been the guardians of rock’n’roll, the people who would not surrender its wildness, the ones for whom too fast and too loud and too intense were incomprehensible injunctions.

Right now, His Lordship are James Walbourne and Kris Sonne. They are the pair who wear the black suits. They are the pair who step to the stage, and let the amps hum and buzz before Walbourne brings his right hand crashing down on steel guitar strings, and Sonne cracks snare with a stick. They are His Lordship, and His Lordship are rock’n’roll, and now they have made their first album.

James Walbourne is sitting in his street clothes. At this second, he is not His Lordship. He is simply an extraordinary guitarist – currently Chrissie Hynde’s right hand man in the Pretenders, for Sonne also plays drums. He looks distinctly ordinary. Because on nondescript Friday afternoon, that’s what he is. Of course he is: night has not yet fallen. “It’s like being Gilbert and George,” he says, “where they’re in the Turkish restaurant, and then they become Gilbert and George, the artists. We leave our normal lives, and get up on stage and become this manic rock’n’roll band. We play that fierce music for an hour, and then we stop. We inhabit two worlds.”

The spirit of His Lordship first began inhabiting Walbourne in 2015. He had been feeling bored by the world and to divert himself, began playing Sunday lunchtime sets at the Boogaloo pub in north London, playing covers of old rock’n’roll numbers, the ones his father had played for him once upon a time. “And everyone responded. Suddenly Sunday lunchtime there was packed, and it was the easiest thing for me to do, because it was natural. I didn’t have to think. It was nothing to do with album campaigns or tours, it was just playing for the joy of self-expression. But then we got bored of playing covers, so Kris and I went off and started writing songs.”

Many years ago, John Peel commented after playing the single Coming Out Soon by a Finnish band called Melrose that he liked it because it sounded as though the instruments were playing themselves. That’s the sensation one gets listening to His Lordship, to songs such as All Cranked Up, Joyboy, I’m So Bored With Being Bored and I Live in the City. It’s as though Walbourne and Sonne just happen to be the rods through which the lightning is conducted.

“Yeah, that’s how I feel about this band. This is the most natural thing I could do – it’s my natural state as a musician. I don’t have to think about it.”

For all their musical savagery, though, His Lordship do not want to be an exercise in retromania. Yes, their first EP was covers, and you might get to hear them play The Way I Walk or I’m Shakin’ when the mood takes them. And, it’s true, you can say hello to the spirits of 1956, 1966 and 1976 in the shadows at the side of the stage. But His Lordship tread lightly in the footsteps of their forefathers. They need to be modern, too.

“We've put a lot of thought into this stuff: is this too rock’n’roll? Can we turn it into our own thing? We’re not trying to recreate the 1950s. We’re not playing punk. We're not trying to be the Jam. People think rock is easy to write, but it’s not. It’s the hardest thing to write well. To write a two and a half minute rock song that says all the right things in all the right places is hard. You’ve got to hit every spot. You have to keep refining and refining. We spent a lot of time thinking about what rock’n’roll really is, and it’s the weird parts of those old records: if you listen to Another Saturday Night by Don French, it’s all over the shop and weird but perfect. And what makes it perfect is that it’s so fucked up.” The fucked-upness is the part that His Lordship are bringing back to life – not slapback bass, or vintage mics, or playing a 1956 Gretsch White Falcon. His Lordship are not about fidelity to the past, but about an alien present. “We’re like this thing that’s come down from outer space, we put on the suits and we’re ready to go.”

And then they become His Lordship, Walbourne and Sonne end up being different people to who they have been in any of their other projects (as well as being in the Pretenders, between them they have worked with Ray Davies, the Pogues, Son Volt, Jerry Lee Lewis, Linda Thompson, Brett Anderson, Mutya Buena, Jason Mraz, Klaus Voorman, Charlotte Church, Backstreet Boys and score more). They become conduits for energy.

“I leave the stage exhausted and drenched in sweat,” Walbourne says. “I do stuff onstage that I don’t know I’m doing. I watch clips and I have no clue where those things I do have come from. There’s nothing inside me apart from the song I’m playing, and it feels different to anything else I do. The feeling I get is one of being completely uninhibited.”

His Lordship’s debut album is just the start. The good thing about being uninhibited is that no one and nothing can force you into boxes. Right now His Lordship play rock’n’roll, but that might not always be the case. Maybe the next record will channel a different set of spirits – Sun Ra, perhaps, or Captain Beefheart. Maybe it will be haunted by James Brown and the Famous Flames live at the Apollo, or by Sonic Youth at the Knitting Factory, or Love at the Whiskey a Go Go, or the White Stripes at the Boston Arms. It doesn’t matter, because wherever music exists in its wildest form, wherever it is free from convention, wherever musicians play for the pure thrill of playing, that is where His Lordship exist.

Have a listen…

Tuesday 21st May 2024

Price: £12.00 Adv. (stbf)

Doors 19:30

Buy Tickets

Band Links

« Back to Previous Page

Brudenell News

  • Be Kind // Re-opening Statement

    Be Kind // Re-opening Statement

    Friday 16th July 2021

    On the whole, we want our message to convey that there is a need for a level of personal responsibility, compassion and kindness for each other that essentially helps us all. We appreciate your continued support.

    Read More

Brudenell Social

Brudenell on Spotify

Follow us on Spotify for playlists featuring upcoming gigs & music from our friends!