12 September 2013

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown at the Eel Pie Club Twickenham

I loved Matilda the Musical so much that I bought tickets to see it again. Then an Arthur Brown concert was arranged for the same day and the Matilda ticket was gladly given away. Arthur is not to be missed.

The Eel Pie Club meets above the Cabbage Patch pub in Twickenham, more or less opposite the station. It is also easily reachable by bus. I walked. It's about 4km from where I live so that is a comfortable forty minute walk.

I had not bough tickets in advance so I headed to the pub early. The club opening time was advertised as 8:30 and I got to the pub just after 8. Besides, it was clearly the better option to be in the pub early with time for a pint than sitting around at home for an hour or so to arrive at the gig on time.

There was a reasonable queue when the doors opened. Due to the vagaries of the venue the queue was outside despite there being a door to the upstairs room from the bar. As I was sitting in that bar I was not at the front of the queue but I need not have worried as all the keen early arrivers were desperate for seats leaving plenty of space next to the stage for me.

I chose to go just right of centre where I had a clear view of Arthur and was right next to Lucie Rejchrtova on keyboards.

The concert started around 9:15 as planned and in the familiar way with the band walking on stage and playing the first number in painted Venetian masks.

The picture above shows lead guitarist Nina Gromniak in hers.

While I'm mentioning people, a quick word about Angel Flame who dances for two of my favourite bands, Arthur Brown and Space Ritual. I was delighted to get this shot of her waiting to do one of her pieces as she is notoriously difficult to photograph because she moves all the time.

The show was a surprising mix of the very familiar and some, er, surprises.

The familiar included favourite songs like Kites, Devil's Grip and, of course, Fire. The surprises were the four new songs (one brand new, three new to Arthur - I think) and the new arrangements of the old songs.

I think that the changes reflected a growing confidence in what was a relatively new band as the big change was a rebalancing of responsibilities. Previously The sound of the Crazy World was that of the sixties keyboards played by Lucie, think of the Doors into to Light My Fire. Some of that was still there but the other musicians contributed much more. For example, Nina played four solos when previously it had been just one.

The overall result was to give the band a more funky sound that was both new and satisfying. It was a treat to hear the songs evolve again; some of them have been evolving for fifty years.

Arthur was Arthur and displayed the usual physical and mental agility as he delivered his songs and stories with passion and skill.

He also wore his usual stage outfits that included the colourful face paint, long black coat,  almost as long pink jacket, and grey Greek style trousers that were joined together down to the knees.  It is a large stage persona sitting on a large man.

But he is modest too and Arthur frequently vacated the centre stage position to allow the spotlight to fall on somebody else.

Finally, a picture of the whole band taking a well-earned and enthusiastic cascade of cheering and applause. From left to right that is Nina, Arthur, Lucie, Samuel Walker (drums) and Jim Mortimore (bass).

I managed to speak to a most of them after the concert and it is always a nice end to the evening to be able to thank the performers personally and individually.

Every Arthur Brown concert is good, which is why I keep going, and this one was more special than most because of the new songs and evolving sound. Arthur is on a journey and I am on for the ride.

1 comment:

  1. Saw the band in Swansea last night and they were brilliant. Arthur has some really goods musicians with him and they deserve to be supported, so if they are playing near you go see them.


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