The Burns Brothers return to East End pub scene with comeback gig in Stepney

A Burns Brothers gig in the Lord Rodney's Head in Whitechapel, which has since become a shoe shop. P

A Burns Brothers gig in the Lord Rodney's Head in Whitechapel, which has since become a shoe shop. Picture: Gerry Slattery - Credit: Archant

An iconic east end band are making their return.

The Burns Brothers, made up of Barking-born Gerry Slattery and Robert Shuffle, rocked the Whitechapel pub scene in the late 80s and 90s.

After Gerry moved into session work and theatre, pub gigs died down, but in September, the duo are making their triumphant comeback at The Peacock in Stepney.

“I don’t have a lot of time for Burns Brothers anymore,” Gerry said.

“I moved to Whitford in Essex so I’ve not been in the East End for a long time.


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“I’ve always missed it. They’re certainly not shy in the east end. In Essex they’re lovely but very reserved, but the east end crowd aren’t scared to shout out and enjoy themselves. They love a good time.”

Gerry begans the Burns Bros in 1987 with Mick Burns, who he met through a mutual friend at a concert. Their first gig was at the Lord Rodney’s Head in Whitechapel, where they began playing covers of Grease and singalong tunes.

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“At the time, the pub was full of nurses, doctors and students,” the 56-year-old said.

“We did gigs there every Monday and they went mad. Within two weeks you couldn’t move. All the girls would get up on the tables and dance.”

The band were a hit, performing eight gigs a week at pubs across the East End. They even had famous fans, including Mike Myers and Mel Gibson, who once requested a cover of Relight My Fire.

In 1994, Mick moved to Nottingham and Gerry turned to session work, where he started playing with Boy George and the Beach Boys.

Gerry spends most of his time now playing in theatre shows, but said he misses the old pub scene.

“The pub culture has changed totally,” he said.

“It’s much smaller now. Sometimes we’d play nine gigs a week, every day of the week, but you couldn’t do that now. Half the pubs are restaurants now.”

After hearing a shoutout on Radio London last year asking what had happened to the Burns Brothers, the idea of returning planted itself in Gerry’s mind.

A friend who runs The Peacock in Aylward Street asked if he’d play there, and he agreed.

The band will play there every Sunday from September 16.

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