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the MAGIC BAND reunion

THIS is BAND #4 live - go to the main page


saturday 3 july 2004 EXETER england PHOENIX ARTS CENTRE exeter summer festival
attendance: ? [capacity unknown]

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mark dobson - the dobson family diaries - saturday, july 03, 2004

Dan asked when we were going. I said about half seven. He said that seemed a bit late. I looked quizzical, as I am generally rather punctual, and retired to bed very much inclined to wake for about half seven anyway. We left a little after half seven but it weren't my fault. I had a little chemical (taurine) stimulation, as I thought I'd probably need it. I asked for another at the Phoenix's bar, and received red wine. Felt a bit common, but then I remembered.

The warm-up band were ludicrously average. I think they were called Tribe. A three-piece, the drummer and the lead-guitarist looked quite normal, but the bassist looked cool with a capital F. He had a guitar strap apparently made from bullet cases or whatever they're called, and perched his (ironic?) lucky dildo on top of his amp. He played as if he really meant it, thought what he meant didn't strike me as being very interesting. Oh, and the guitarist wouldn't turn the delay off on his mic for some reason.

So... the Magic Band - well they were great, I'm pleased to say. No Don Van Vliet, naturally, but John French - in addition to being a fantastically funky percussionist - does a very serviceable Beefheart impression, complete with harp and actions, but unfortunately no sax. He looked pretty cool too. Where exactly does one purchase a white trenchcoat? He made an excellent bandleader. Gary Lucas was predictably awesome, and seeing 'Evening Bell' performed in front of me was very impressive. It sounds incredibly difficult to play, and now I know that it looks it too.

Mark Boston was also fantastic. He was wearing a Residents t-shirt and he looks like Father Christmas. There was a stand-in drummer too, who didn't stand out, but I gather that the drum parts are all fairly tortuous, so big up on him. Denny Walley was generally fine, but he didn't look very happy, and I wasn't so sure about some of his solos. They did a retro version of 'Electricity', which was quite interesting to hear with harp.

Generally speaking, it was fantastic end to end, and everyone (hyperbole) was having a good time. They said they weren't going to do an encore, but we were having that. I went home feeling good.

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[updated 120904]

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