captain beefheart electricity

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the MAGIC BAND reunion

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


monday 5 july 2004 GLASGOW scotland THE ARCHES
attendance: ? [capacity unknown]

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john kelly - the daily post (the razz supplement) - 090704:

HHHII

they might have lost captain beefheart from their line-up a good twenty years ago, but the recently reformed magic band still know how to party like it's 1973.

fair enough, they're tipping the scales a bit these days (they must all be in their 50s), but the sound is as raw and exciting as ever. a lot of the credit for this has to go to the twin guitar attack of gary lucas and denny walley, who manage to recreate the rumbling, slightly out-of-time sounds of classic albums such as 'trout mask replica' and 'clear spot' almost exactly.

most of this craziness has evaporated, because the band are leaning towards blues roots, rather than beefheart's almost freeform jazz. still, though, classics sounded great.

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jiflem - alt.fan.capt-beefheart - 120704:

i was at the magic band glasgow gig and had a great night, the music was brilliant and the atmosphere was friendly and electric. i took along my mini disk but due to enjoying myself too much i kind of cocked up some of it, but i did get about half the show at a reasonable quality.

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anna battista - e-zine erasing clouds #25 - 07/08.04:

note: a bit edited

THE MAGIC BAND / FIRE ENGINES @ THE ARCHES, GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, 05/07/04

don van vliet aka captain beefheart once compared his music to the 'speed and emotion' of works by artist franz kline. taking inspiration from that remark, i always compared the nectarine no.9's music to francis bacon's chaotic world. in beefheart's universe as in the nectarine no.9's, music seems to be cut out of shapes rather than words. it is hence very apt for the first incarnation of the no.9, the fire engines, to open tonight for beefheart's magic band.

when i arrive at the venue, the fire engines have already started their set, but i still manage to get a glimpse of davy henderson wearing a dress and to hear a few tracks. they are explosively raw, angry and spiky as ever, and, while listening to them, you realise that they owe to captain beefheart in terms of sound structure, riffs and distorted vocals. unfortunately, their set is quite short and soon the stage is vacated to welcome the magic band.

beefheart's band reunited last year and tonight the magic band's aficionados, that is mostly aged men looking like a crossover between richard brautigan and lawrence ferlinghetti, have gathered here to see their heroes john french on drums, vocals and harmonica, gary lucas and denny walley on guitar, mark boston on bass and michael traylor on drums.

the magic band - reunion - line-up #4 - john french / drumbo - live performance 050704 the arches, glasgow, scotland - by anna battista
john french / drumbo - picture by anna battista

john french arrives wrapped up in a white coat and wearing a white hat and with a towel adorning his shoulders. he tells us he's just found the towel in the dressing rooms, then pauses for effect, unfolds it and reveals us the discoloured face of donald duck. we laugh and clap at the fading image, almost a hallucination from an acid dream evoking childhood, then the music starts, a blend of blues, rock, acid, jazz, a jigsaw puzzle of rhythms documenting deranged years gone by.

while the band plays hits such as 'diddy wah diddy', 'the smithsonian institute blues', 'circumstances' and 'nowadays a woman's gotta hit a man', french - who seems to be very surprised by this enthusiastic glasgow's audience - grumbles rather than sings, his voice, sinister and almost primal, scarily resembles beefheart's trademark growl. a few instrumentals follow, among them 'alice in blunderland' and 'evening bell', the latter with a triumphing gary lucas on guitar.

towards the end of the gig, john french remembers the genius who wrote the lyrics of the songs they played tonight, captain beefheart, and instantly a roar rises from the adoring crowd. this is our way to say thanks to beefheart and to his mighty magic band.

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[updated 311204]

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captain beefheart electricity
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