Saturday, January 24, 2004THE MAGIC BAND @ THE ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL
wasn't entirely convinced by this, to be honest, and i'm glad i blagged it at the last minute rather than shelling out 25 quid for tickets.
for sure, they sounded great for the most part, and Drumbo did a fair approximation of the Captain, but there was something a little shabby about it, and you could tell just by looking at the band that they were all doing it for different reasons - Rockette Morton was just happy to be playing again, i think, and looked like some kind of acid-fried Grandpa Walton (although if the stories are true, Grandpa Walton was an acid-fried Grandpa Walton); Gary Lucas is the busiest and most successful outside the band and he was clearly just enjoying being able to delve into that stuff again; Feelers Rebo Whalley looked really uncomfortable, like he suspected he really shouldn't be doing it but couldn't afford not to; but it was Drumbo French that got me. Two parts Mick Fleetwood to one part Floella Benjamin, he was just creepy. For all his insistence that he was paying tribute, not trying to imitate, there was a stench of careerism about him, a misplaced self-aggrandisement somehow..
there were highlights - a lengthy Mirror Man was stunning, and they started with Diddy Wah Diddy - but Drumbo was, frankly, a knob - we really didn't need fairly literal interpretation of lyrics through 'Music & Movement' style actions...
if you shut your eyes, it could have been the band in full flight in the 70s, so why am i carping? i mean, if anybody's going to be a Beefheart covers band, i guess they're better placed than anybody (at least they're not the fucking Doors Of The 21st Century) but it was lacking something. Walter Benjamin would at this point start wobbling on about the auratic - ‘its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be’ - but i'll skip that and mutter something about there being no 'vibe' instead.
The Fall were good though.
anyway, that's another legend added to my list of people i've managed to see that i never thought i would (of whom, really, Mission Of Burma were the only ones who made the grade on their own terms in the here and now, rather than because of their legacy - see Velvet Underground, Television, Dylan etc).
posted by dubversion at 1:36 pm