Ah, Monday at the Mau Mau's Zodoa night: a club that specializes in letting living legends have a go and in just being a rather coolly odd night out. This Xmas special was certainly no exception.
We arrived while The Brady Bunch were playing and it was cool to see ES Brady playing again for the first time in far too long. I'd guess at least 15 years as I won't go and see the London SS that is one of the bands he was legendarily a part of as well as The Brats, The Hollywood Brats and whatever the bands I used to see him playing in down at the Roadhouse and Rock Garden were called. Either way, it was nice to see him performing instead of just hanging out.
The first song we heard all of was about an Iceberg and it had some very 70's guitar sounds on it from The Brady Bunch. We then got Far Too Long that was, well, not quite long enough. It also sounded rather 70's AOR and sadly Brady's vocals are a touch on the weedy side these days.
The Fugitive had more than enough paranoia in the lyrics and a bit more urgency musically to be more interesting. They closed with a cool angry and bitter take on Christine: a song I'm sure I've heard before that Brady said was about an Ex and damn he sounded like he really hates her now.
Next on was Ricky Rebel who had his mum as Roadie and tour manager as well as videographer and official photographer for his PA. Unusual, perhaps, but then it's not often I see acts who have toured with Britney Spears!! Yes, Ricky is a rather pretty and camp singer and dancer from Hollywood who was singing along to his backing tracks that he recorded and produced himself. He was also wearing the most fabulous pair of medium heeled black leather boots with silver studs over them.
His set opened with I think Get It On With, which for me set the template for Hi-NRG dance pop numbers with choreographed dance routines. They reminded my other half of Zumba routines and put a smile on everyone's faces as the what what what factor started to kick in.
As Ricky continued with He's As Cold As Ice with another dance routine and the sort of dance vocals you'd expect over the pounding dance music, we were transfixed and to be honest starting to laugh a bit as we were treated as if he was playing an arena with shout outs to "Come on London!" tho0ugh fair's fair - he did his best to get everyone going at his dance party. He got danceably political on They're Sheep about how easily people follow the herd and how original he was and how you should be who you want to be.
He's a Young Pup could easily be about the kids on the Chicken run to despair or just someone trying to make a name for themselves with another OTT dance routine and pumping techno. We were considering if it would be out of order to stuff a fiver down the waistband of Ricky's oh so tight trousers or not.
Then he was imploring us all to take A Ride On His Love Train or whatever the song was and as I looked round everyone was just smiling and having a giggle at how wonderfully out of place this performance was that had most of us grinning as he then sang Time Of The Season and just kept the Hi-NRG pumping like he was playing one of the old school Monday night gay clubs that London used to be full of. Damn, he should have been playing G.A.Y. or Trade or even Torture Garden where this set would have gone down a storm.
Time was next off his latest album, The New Alpha, which is I guess about gender fluidity and was again pumping and full of dance moves. He closed with Boys and Sometimes Girls all about his sexual preferences and what he likes to do which as his mum was busy taking more pics of him had some real oddness to it. Nonetheless, it really got everyone in the place smiling and laughing even more and much as he was not to my musical taste in many respects he was the best act on the bill and I really didn't expect to be saying that tonight!
After the break they slipped an extra act onto the bill in Saskia Maxwell who in stark contrast to Ricky Rebel was an English Folk singer in the Julie Dyble, Sandy Denny tradition. She played two songs - the first of which, Director, had some florid lyrics over some quite wonderful acoustic strumming that was almost but not quite as out of place as Ricky Rebel's set was.
I really liked her guitar tone and playing on The Dreamer: a nice song that really showed she has enough going on to do reasonably well in the current folk scene.
It was then time for Taurus Trakker who opened with Chicken Wing all about the king of those wings and sounding pretty full on and rocking with Martin's guitar really sounding good as Allison fair pounding the drums. They then played a song for the season Drunk In The Full Seven Ways that has some cool lyrics and a great bass line from James Simmins.
They decided it was time to be Putting The Vibe On Us and it had some fine guitar work on it as we all felt the vibes. The next song is apparently off the band's new album due out in 2018. Called Ulysses In The Hood, it's steeped the band's typically wry take on life and the Notting Hill they live in. It was followed by a rocking instrumental that was almost a rockabilly tune.
Panic On The Streets was (I think) one of the new songs dedicated to the locals who lost everything in the Grenfell tragedy and that sense of trauma was also apparent in They Don't Care Nothing About The Poor Man: a real modern blues punk song that's well worth a listen.
I have the next song down as Everything She Needs and it kept the energy up, with the band sounding pretty damn tight. They then played an oldie with a good version of the bands classic Bag For Life that also concluded the set.
Our host for the evening, Tommy Kennedy, then made sure they came back for an encore and they finished the evening off with Too Much Drama: a song that sums 2017 up nicely and also wrapped up what was in many respects a cool and odd night out that led us talking and joking about Ricky Rebel all week rather surprisingly!!