29 March 2013

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown at the Borderline

I go to see Arthur Brown in concert whenever I can and it seems that I am not the only one. The stories of strong ticket sales for this gig proved to be true and the venue was packed.

The other encouraging thing about the gig was the number of young things there amongst us older 'uns in our regulation leather jackets.

Of course one of the oldest there was Arthur himself who is now seventy. Yes, seventy.

As always Arthur's technical age is a mirage confounded by his vitality on stage and his deep resonant voice.

His frequent leg-shake dance meant that he needed a lot of space to himself and the rest of the band lined up around the edge of the stage.

An early mention must be made for Lucie Rejchrtova on keyboards who parried with Arthur through the evening. They exchanged glances frequently and Arthur often wandered across in an attempt to play the keyboards. He managed this a couple of times, even playing with his foot once, and he knocked the keyboards on the floor too. Lucie carried on playing through all this and her distinctive sixties-style sound was the defining  mood of the music.

The other musicians played their parts very well too though they were mostly content to stay at the back and let Arthur do the theatricals.

Arthur was magnanimous in introducing each of the band members and giving them solos in which to shine. There was a loud cheer when Nina Gromniak came to the front of the stage to give hers.

And there was Ms Angel too. She danced with Arthur on three of four songs, wearing a different outfit for each one.

The set was much as expected, e.g. Kites, Spell on You, Devil's Grip and Fire. There were one or two new (to me) songs in there too but as they had the same funky feel as the rest the mood was not broken.

One of the songs was almost Reggae, and that worked too.

Of course the band can only do so much and the performance was really about Arthur who entertained as he always does. This time wearing more make-up than I have ever seen on him before.

Arthur plays a shortish well-rehearsed set that entertains joyfully throughout, such as his elongated and completely untrue intro to Fire that almost stumbles along, complete with funny voices, before bursting in to the much anticipated, "I am the God of Hellfire!"

Things got even better after the gig.

While we were still shouting for "Arthur!", "Arthur!" in a vain attempt to coax him back for a second encore, Lucie came through the crowd to the front and spoke to me. Well, not just me but she spoke to me first and I am still beaming. Later I got to speak to Nina and Arthur too and got a hug from Ms Angel who flit around the fans like a demented bumble bee. Arthur, on the other hand, played the role of the grandee (justifiably) and stood still while hoards of people came to him.

I do not have another Arthur Brown gig in my diary until September. That is a cruel amount of time to have to wait.

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