Barn d'Or Music aka Mike Lance promoting music in Brighton for over 20 years - still at it !
REVIEW BY 'A CUSTOMER'
Arthur Brown @ The Hanbury, Brighton, thursday 9 september 2004
Another captivating show by local boy Brown. Opening with face swathed in a big black scarf beneath a big black hat, carrying a big black totem stick and a wee willy winkie candle, Arthur intones laughing Lenny Cohens The Future (Arthur used to perform A hard rains gonna fall, but has found a deeper, darker but humorous apocalyptic number). Mr Brown is always excellent value; a fantabulous showman whose vocal swoops encompass a greater range, top and bottom end, than the equally eccentric Brian Wilson. Arthur takes a song and wrenches it from known reality into his very own. Fire meanders briefly into Break on through to the other side; I put a spell on you is as comic-demonic as ever; The devils grip still grasps. The ethereal Kites is graced with a twirly pastiche ballet dance. A pluto-comic-pause between Fire poem and Fire creases the audience and Brown (who inserts a plug for a fizzy lager whose name i shall not utter).
Arthurs show veers towards Spinal Tapisms, in the nicest possible way Arthur nearly obliviously collides with the monitor, water and wine glass as His Highness (well he is rather tall) moves, bemasked, onto the stage; seated acoustic heavy metal god Chris Bryant, grimacingly half levitating out of his seat as he is transported by his own playing, hooked fingered saluting the crowd in absolute glee as he pulls off another solo which has wandered its zigzag way in very unexpected directions; Arthurs black, flashy flashy light interstellar headgear removed at the end of Time captives and flashing diodes dismantled, to reveal the tacky polystyrene helmet in all its tuppenceworth of glory; Nick Pynn forced to find and develop the tune, which he does with aplomb (whatever that is) as his guitar playing partner, having broken one string and grabbed the reserve, manages to repeat the feat and grinningly restrings.
Its impossible not to acknowledge mighty-multi-instrumental Mr Pynn who disgorges gorgeous violin, reverse looped dulcimer and layered theremin sounds. Both players have to keep their eyes and ears on Arthurs fleeting, flitting directions and each others playing as they hare off on another quest for cosmic er, cosmicness. Theyve played together long enough now to be able to transport each other (and us) to places youd not dream of (or if you did, youd awake very, very scared) and to places youll never, ever want to return from. Arthur seizes the opportunity to sit, cross legged on the floor with some of the audience to watch, in awe, his own magic band.
Never one to meekly end a set, Arthur endlessly extemporises beyond time. Over two hours later, way gone midnight, his wailing I still havent found what Im looking for extends beyond the extension and he's still extolling Thats how strong my love is (a rendition that always tweaks my tearducts as well as the smile muscles) then Nick suddenly finds himself wafting a delicate impromptu theremin solo at us as Chris legs it to the gents in midsong - as divine a loo-break intervention as youd wish for. Excellent stuff, Your Excellency. We all left, eventually, tired but fired.