Warning: this review contains full frontal nudity!!
We got into this Jubilee concert (part of The Urban Voodoo Machine's Cheers For The Tears tour) while PATTI PLINKO was already on and got to see the last 3 songs of her set. She was perfoming as a trio with a guy with an acoustic guitar and a woman on fiddle. They sounded like they were trying to marry Brecht/Weill style songs to a female fronted Pogues but with better dentistry.
The songs we did hear seemed to go on a little too long but the Tango Very Well was the sort of song you could easily lose yourself in and the final song (6 Drams Of Whiskey Down) was one of those songs that had shades of Alabama Song in it's cyclical nature. The way Patti seemed to get drunker and drunker with each verse was endearing. They were pretty decent but all the songs went on for a couple of minutes too long.
After the break during which good old DJ Scratchy entertained us with some suitably regal selections, it was time for The Urban Voodoo Machine to show us all how to celebrate the Golden Jubilee properly, coming onstage as usual to the Godfather Theme followed by them playing their own Theme tune and tonight they were a 12 piece for most of the set.
After a little false start, they gave us a great version of recent single High Jeopardy Thing that as it turned out seemed to be the theme for tonight's show as they were in jeopardy of falling apart at various points.
The first of those points came after Paul-Ronney Angel had started a slow spoken word intro for Cheers For the Tears before J-Roni Moe and Jari had to stop him as they pointed out the snare drum had fallen apart. While they hurriedly repaired it, the rest of the band played a slow sing along version of Down By The River and as soon as they gave the thumbs up the band came back to Cheers For The Tears, the great new single about rumours of Paul-Ronney's early demise. It was a rollicking barrel house take on it with the drums sounding as good as they should.
Did we need an apology? Well not yet we didn't, but they decided we did in the form of Sorry I'm Not With You and it was great with some expressive guitar from Nick Marsh who had a dirty great grin plastered over his face. They went all gospel on us for Waiting For A Train with the Rev Gavin plucking the hell out of his bass and the band communally singing the chorus along with most of the audience. A most rousing performance indeed.
I'm not sure if it was during the last song or Love Song 666 that it became apparent that tonight's singer was PJ-Ronney Angel of the split trousers. Oh dear, they were coming apart at the seams and he was showing us some leg by this point as the rest of the band tried to keep straight faces. Not so easy while the hole was growing. Still, the band still had the Killer Sound and a great trumpet solo from Lloyd helped take some minds off of it. The subsequent attempt at a gaffer tape repair was quite funny too.
Rather You Shot me Down wasn't about how Paul-Ronney was feeling (at least I hope not) but it was as rollicking and in your face as they get. Now my notes for the next song are unclear but I think it might have been Lightning From a Blues Sky(?) Apologies if I'm wrong, but anyway, about halfway through - at the instrumental break - Paul-Ronney disappeared off and returned trouserless and managed to pop out the front of his boxers while trying to sing in his red socks as the band kicked into 96 Tears and he bounced all over the stage and found the spare trousers that made sure Sheena Is A Punk Rocker sound cool.
Thankfully he was properly dressed again for Heroin Put my Brothers in the Ground: as sombre a song as they have that always sounds joyous live no matter how dark the lyrics may be As usual, Paul-Ronney made sure we all knew not to mess with that shit. The subsequnt Orphan's Lament was as sleazy as ever and captured the spirit of the band perfectly with the New member, Mr Milligan (or was it Gilligan?) chiming in on penny whistle.
Can Of Worms in no way referenced Little Paul-Ronney who popped out earlier, honest it didn't. And the washboard solo from Joe Whitney set it off nicely as we were all ready to Sink Or Swim although they were more floating than sinking at this point as the whole audience were more than up for it and no one needed to be sent of to Rehab for a while even if they did have to search a little for Lady Ane Angel before they could close the show with a rousing version of Goodbye to Another Year that somehow still works in June.
The encore started out with Paul-Ronney singing Oh Lonesome You solo before being slowly joined by J-Roni Moe and Jari before the rest of the band came out and made us all stand to attention while they played the national anthem that dovetailed into the other God Save The Queen and the facist regime. That could only mean it was time to go Down In A Hole that was the usual encore style musical mayhem.
It morphed into Baby Please Don't Go while they traded solos and mucked around and all of a sudden it was Jesus On the Mainline (that was almost as good as hearing Sister Otha's version) before they ripped into What'd I Say and closed with a rousing and unlikely cover of Stand By Me; as ever leaving us wanting more from one of the best live bands anywhere in the world.