25 January 2020

Arthur Brown at Nells was amazing

Arthur Brown remains one of my must-see artists and over the years I have seen him many times, but not as many as I would like, and at many different venues, but Nells was a new one on me.

Nells is conveniently located for me in West Kensington in something of an odd location. Heading north from the tube life suddenly stops and West Kensington was surprisingly quiet, i.e. dead. The only people to be seen were queueing up to get into Nells.

The website said doors open at 7:30 and we got there just before that only yo find the place already packed and almost all of the seating taken. The layout was a little odd and on the right hand side of the auditorium was a small seated area with something like six rows of five seats and Julia was able to get one of these. The view was not great but a seat was seat.

The front of the standing area was full by then so I was quite happy to stand behind the seats and had a decent view over the heads of the people standing, as the picture below shows.

The bar was not too bad either and thew had Camden Pale Ale at Richmond prices which some may consider high but I am used to it and was only having a couple of pints anyway.

Every Arthur Brown show is different and this one was too, and even more so than I expected.

The stage was very much Arthur Brown front and centre with only his regular dancing partner Ms Angel allowed to join in him this space. The three band members were at the side in the dark wearing black. Their outfits included strange hats.

Arthur's costumes were very theatrical and mostly unseen by me before, apart from the fibre optic jackets. He wore face paint again but less of it. His costumers were a significant part of the performance and several times he left the stage to change while the band played on; it reminded me of Bowie in 1973!

Another innovation this time was the large screen behind Arthur that was used to project mood images such as flames.

This was billed as a greatest hits set with the new album launch the following night but there were plenty of new songs this night. All the songs, old and new, had a late sixties sound due to the keyboard - think Doors' Light My Fire. The old songs included Fire (obviously), The Voice of Love, Devil's Grip and a superbly different rendition of my favourite Time Captives. Surprisingly there was no room for previous regulars Kites and Spell on You. Normally they would be among my highlights of the evening but this show was just so good that while I noticed that they were not there I did not miss them.

I am sure that I have claimed that I had just been to the best Arthur Brown gig ever before and I will do it again this time. Because it was.

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