Sunday, 9 September 2018

Back Street Gig

Having declared my love for early seventies blues/rock, I need to admit to also being partial to a bit of prog rock from the same era. Reflecting this I have been to see Curved Air. There was a chap there with a t-shirt that he had obviously bought at the Allman/Betts gig the previous evening and when I spoke to him about it he said that the two concerts back to back was like being in 1975 for the weekend; ain't that the truth. They weren't playing at the Brudenell, but at a venue entirely new to me. The address which I was given was 'behind Tesco' which seemed rather unpromising, and I don't know whether I was relieved or disappointed to find that it wasn't the sort of dive that I would actively have sought out forty years ago. In fact, as a further sign of old age, I particularly liked how comfortable the seats were.

We have all changed over the years of course - even Epictetus is beginning to go a bit thin on top - and Sonja Kristina is no exception. Ever since the episode with Elkie Brooks' greatest fan I have been wary of appearing to disrespect performers of a certain demographic, and believe me I am not doing so here. Admittedly Kristina's stage moves these day are limited to waving her arms about in what could best be described as an esoteric blend of tai chi, the hand jive and a mime artist pretending to be a painter and decorator - she gave the ceiling several coats - but the voice is still there. The rest of the band - there were six including her - weren't the original members, but they were good and they looked the part. I was especially pleased to see one figure stood off to the side surrounded by banks of keyboards, including a synthesiser, and looking like Elrond; every prog band should have one.

The current line up apparently recorded an album a few years ago and they played a few tracks from that, which I rather enjoyed. They weren't melodically very inventive, but they had the ridiculous lyrics, abrupt changes of key and tempo and completely spurious virtuoso instrumental flourishes that the audience had come to see. They did play the old stuff of course, including amongst others, 'Melinda (More or Less)' - a favourite of mine - and 'Vivaldi' - sadly without the cannons. I heard Tom Robinson (the 'Glad to be Gay' one, not the racist jailbird one) say recently that two good songs were both necessary and sufficient for a band to have a long career. As if to prove his point Curved Air have two belters. They finished the first set with 'It Happened Today' and the second set with 'Back Street Luv' and we all went away happy.


  1. Thank Crom for reality TV stars and auto tune! Music used to all be so samey.

    1. I've always taken the view that because blues/soul/rock is such a simple and, let's be honest, limited art form it really didn't take long for everything that could be done to be done.

      It's one of the reasons that I generally go to live performances rather than buying recorded music.

    2. True, though I do apologize if my poor attempt at humour confused you at all!