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Naughty Rhythms. The Harlequin, Redhill. 29 November 2001

I've done a deal with her indoors - I went to hear her sing the Dream of Gerontius in Dorking last Saturday; tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be an old fan taking his Mrs to hear something completely different. There is a limited number of seats available and I figure there'll be less to worry about if herself on one of them. So we get there in good time, but seem to be the only ones there. It's the 17th of 40 consecutive nights for the bands and I'm thinking they won't want to push themselves if there's not much of an audience. 7.45 and the doors open. Instead of a surge of people running to grab the front spots, 4 blokes amble down and stand there. The place stays almost empty until smack on 8 when the hall fills up as John Otway comes on stage on a silver scooter, scoots round the gaps in the crowd and says he wants them closed, then announces The Kursaals. "Hand picked by Jonathan King" says Paul Shuttleworth, the singer. King produced their first album and the Kursaals deliver cracking versions of several tracks - "Pocket money", "Hit records" and close with Paul and his helmet doing "Speedway". In between, in a tightly-paced half hour set, they also play the hit "Little does she know". There is much exchange of banter with the audience, who join in singing enthusiastically - we're in for a good night. Next up, Otway who has trimmed his act to a tight half hour also, to put us in the mood for the beer break, he says. Good as ever, he opens with his hit "Cor baby, that's really free" then tells us of his plans to have another next year on his 50th birthday. We're all invited to sing on the "B" side, "House of the rising sun", to be recorded at Abbey Road studios on 30th March 2002. You're welcome too... A nice man gave us handouts in the interval with references to details at http://www.johnotway.com/abbeyroad and news of the hit plans at http://www.otnews.net. We were also encouraged to check his website at http://www.otway.co.uk for loads of other info. including his birthday gig at the London Palladium next October, when he plans to announce his new chart placing. Otway will do anything to entertain, including jumping off a ladder to head over heels while still playing, and wiring himself up with a dismantled drum machine to bang himself all over for "Body talk". He closes tonight with his version of "You ain't seen nothing yet" playing his guitar with 2 necks, hinged at the middle. He is joined for the final spasm by most of Dr Feelgood standing on the amplifiers with him and playing guitars behind their necks. Sublime. After the interval it's the Feelgoods in black jackets. What an eye opener. I was never a big fan, but this was superb. Paced really fast with a star of a lead singer, Robert Kane, who has replaced the late Lee Brilleaux. From well North-East of Canvey Island (Sunderland), the little dynamo struts and postures, he dances with the ladies in the front row, waves his hand for audience participation. The band never stops. Solid rhythm section and ace guitarist in Steve. The place is jumping. "Down to the Doctor's", "Milk and alcohol" are worthily performed, plus newer songs from "Chess masters" and others. They're on great form and will be a hard act to follow. A break while the drum kit is changed round for a left handed drummer, the only original member of Canned Heat. Some of the audience seem to have peaked and don't return from the bar. Heat start well enough with an up tempo piece; then it's a slow blues, then "On the road again", then another slow blues. I was beginning to think about cocoa but they picked up. The singer/harp player who isn't a front man, picks up a flute and they do "Going up the country". Marvellous. Then it's more uptempo stuff, which pleases the crowd, closing with "Let's work together", and an encore "Same all over" with Otway and Feelgoods on stage. Great, but I wish Heat had been less laid back earlier on, to keep their audience with them. They may have been feeling the 17th of 40 nights syndrome, but they could learn from the Brits about pacing a set and communicating with the crowd. However, their musicianship was faultless and much appreciated especially by my other half. I'd never have dreamed of seeing them in Redhill, for goodness sake. A superb evening's entertainment - nearly three and a half hours of thoroughly good music (well, three of that and half-an-hour of Otway - what more could you want?). I'm looking forward to next year's Naughty Rhythms Tour and suggest you do too.

First published 2001 on NAUGHTY RHYTHMS Official WebSite - url now hi-jacked by some porn site, so don't look
and the Zine at www.uroc.net.

Copyright John Scott Cree 2001

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