THE MAGIC BAND reunion
BAND #4 live -
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28 may 2005 LIVERPOOL england CARLING
attendance: 1200 (sold out)
LINE UP & SET LIST
s.a. towey - bbc liverpool website - 010605:
magic band @ carling academy
the music of captain beefheart and the magic band was long championed by the late john peel and in liverpool on saturday night you just knew that the spirit of the man himself was smiling down on a packed carling academy....
members of the magic band reformed two years ago with john 'drumbo' french taking on don van vliet's role as vocalist in lieu of their leader who retired in 1982 to devote his life to painting. but this isn't your bog-standard tribute band. to be sure, there are very few musicians alive who could even attempt to tackle beefheart's highly eclectic mix of blues, free jazz and rock. it's to the band's credit that they came through with flying colours in front of an ecstatic crowd.
beefheart has long had a devoted following on merseyside and current faves 'the zutons' are among many from this neck of the woods who claim him as a major influence. more would do well to listen: there was nothing like it in the 60's and the 70's and there's nothing else like it now.
the band opened with 'gimme dat harp boy' and from then on every number was greeted with huge cheers as drumbo and the boys did their stuff. close your eyes and you could be forgiven for mistaking the low down and dirty growl for the voice of beefheart himself. by all accounts, don is in ill health and reputed to be a virtual recluse but his legacy is certainly living on with the band whose players displayed a virtuosity and tightness that most bands couldn't even dream about.
in a ninety minute set that was only brought to a halt by the academy's disappointing policy of a 10.30 'curfew' (this is li-ver-pool, for pete's sake!), the band played note perfect renditions of numbers from all of beefheart's albums and a surprise 'diddy wah diddy', his first single from the mid 60's (but a cover version! - teejo).
picture by the monster from loch ness from the leadmill, sheffield 270505 show
one of the biggest cheers of the night was when french gave a moving tribute to john peel and told of the days when the dj drove the band around the uk to gigs, so in love was he with the music. they then launched into the stomping intensity of 'electricity', the first track the band ever played in session for peel.
rapport with the audience in the cosy (i think that's the word) hall lead to some great scouse-american exchanges with an initially bemused gary lucas finally responding in unison on his guitar to liverpool fc fans' new-found wordless anthem (the bridge from johnny cash's 'ring of fire'?).
they rounded off the set with, what else, 'big eyed beans from venus' and then managed to persuade the academy to let them do one encore before they turned the power off. 'circumstances' from 'clear spot' ended a great night and when asked if they would be coming back again drumbo replied: 'i dunno'.
the band then proceeded to pack away their speakers with not a roadie in sight. clearly their current tour isn't making them millionaires and it will be real shame if they decide to call it a day.
they deserve much, much more for bringing beefheart's music at a time when it never sounded fresher. i'm sure jp would approve. let's hope we seen them again.
the pictures at the original website are from last year !
click clack back to the magic band or return to the power station
captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo