Archive for the ‘Arthur Brown’ Category

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown Whitley Bay Playhouse 26 May 2022

arthur tixWelcome to the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. A rare treat experienced by a group of middle-aged (and older) followers, along with some younger devotees, in the seaside town of Whitley Bay. Even Arthur partook in some fish and chips and found them to be to his liking. This is the show that Arthur always wanted to deliver to us. The vision was always there. Back in the early days where he ascended up on a crane wearing his crown of flames at the Plumpton Jazz Festival or when I was so lucky to experience a performance by his band Kingdom Come in the early 1970s at Wearmouth Hall, Sunderland Polytechnic Students Union and he emerged from a coffin, was tied to a massive cross and was dragged off stage in a straitjacket. I thought it was one of the weirdest and craziest things I had ever witnessed. Now technology has enabled Arthur to deliver the full concept to us in all its splendour.

arthur bdgThe first half consisted of Arthur performing the majority of his first Crazy World of Arthur Brown album, including “Fire Poem” which leads into his anthem “Fire!” Everyone knows this one: “I am the God of hellfire and I bring you – – – Fire! I take you to burn”. The reaction of people when I told them I was going to see Arthur Brown. “Who is he?”, or “is he still around?” When reminded most people did remember “Fire!” He also included some new material and some classic Kingdom Come songs. Lots of costume changes. And, a real crown of fire! That is something I have never seen him wear before. Psychedelic backdrop showing liquid lens videos of Arthur in his prime in the late 1960s. Mannequins wearing spooky masks. The band wearing crazy costumes and headgear with feathers just as I remember Kingdom Come back 50 years ago. Gauze, flimsy, drapes adorning the stage.arthur 4

Arthur creeping about and moving off and on stage during costume changes. A theremin with its own mannequin and spooky, psychedelic sounds. Swirling, 1960s Hammond organ. In other words the full concept. Psychedelic. Fully encaptivating. Crazy. Drawing us into his crazy world. Amazing. Strong screams. Deep, soaring operatic voice.

Arthur reveals he is 80 next month. He is fit, lean and dances like a whirling dervish. His voice is as strong as ever. He finishes the first set with the classic “Time Captives” which I have seen him sing several times with Hawkwind. My friend Norman just reminded me of this and the time we went to see them (Arthur and Hawkwind, that is) at the Magna Centre in Sheffield. Everyone dressed as robots! Now that was a crazy evening as well.arthur 1

“Without Arthur Brown there would be no Alice Cooper”: Alice Cooper. “Arthur Brown has the Voice ofarthur 5 Death”: Bruce Dickinson – Iron Maiden. “Arthur Brown was a man ahead of his time”: Elton John. “Arthur Brown is as much a dancer as he is a singer”: Pete Townshend – The Who. (All quotes from Arthur’s website)

The second half is just as encaptivating. Less costume changes, just as crazy dancing. A medley of Arthur’s roots. “Be Bop a Lula”, “Hey sinner man where you gonna run to?” Some obscure; many crazy. He finishes with “this one you will know”: Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”. I have seen Arthur perform this Dylan classic several times. I remember David and I went to see Arthur at the Compass Club in Whitby (Arthur’s hometown) and he emerged from the back of the hall dressed all in black with a large top hat and banging a long staff on the ground singing this song. His treatment is immaculate. And then he is gone. Leaving us with memories of his crazy world and a night spent in the company of a true artist who has just shared with us his vision of madness, darkness and Fire! The crowd gave him a standing ovation, which is richly deserved. Laura declared it “amazing”. The last time we saw him together was at York Fibbers club more than 10 years ago. But this was the pinnacle. Thank you Arthur for an amazing evening. But then why would I expect anything less?arthur3

Many thanks to Jackie for her exquisite photographs and Chris for helping me back into my bed. A final memory. When I was 12 years old, with my Christmas money I treated myself to two albums. The first was the Who’s Tommy double album rock opera. The second was Tyrannosaurus Rex and their second album Phrophets, Seers and Sages; The Angels of the Agesarthur 2. The third was, of course, Arthur Brown’s first album The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. I loved that album and played it and played it. One omission, Arthur, if I dare to be so greedy: I wish you had played Screaming Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” from that album. But then you can’t always get what you want (now there’s another song!)

Hawkwind Sage Gateshead 20th October 2018

Hawkwind returned to the Sage with a fantastic show which only they could produce. hawks tix2This extravaganza had everything a Hawk fan such as myself could dream of; the band played a set of classy psychedelic rockers which spanned their entire career coupled with a new concept album The Road to Utopia, an orchestra conducted by super Womble Mike Batt and return of their old friend and my own hero, Arthur Brown. What more could an old, knackered, true Hawk connoisseur ask for?

So we took our seats (me literally, as the Sage kindly removes a seat to make space for my wheelchair); carer Hannah and I for this never to be forgotten Hawk experience. For me, this was one in a long series of experiences of both Hawkwind and Arthur Brown concerts; for Hannah it was her first experience of both (and she had also never heard any of the music of either performers). The concert began with an expanded, extended, dynamic version of “Assault and Battery”; a song which once seemed new to me and now has earned its place as a true Hawkwind classic. Captain Brock remains at the helm, as always, but gone is long time band member Mr Dibs; the Hawkwind family continues to change over time, but the spirit and the soul of the band remains as true to its psychedelic roots as ever. arthur brown

The orchestra added a new dimension to the songs. This, complemented by excellent lighting effects, a laser show and a backdrop displaying a Futurescape of the road to Utopia, made for an experience on a different level to previous Hawkwind concerts.

Arthur Brown was as manic as ever, his booming operatic voice taking the songs to a new level. His narrative to “Sonic Attack” gave the song new relevance in an age where we were about to be thrown into a world with a future as unknown as ever before. His costume changes were as bizarre as always, the long staff returned to be banged on the stage floor and his silver foil hat and cape was my favourite. We sat transfixed Hannah (yes she loved it) and I; the whirring, swirling sounds weaving their magic around us. The encores were “Spirit of the Age”, “Hymn to the Sun” and (of course) a tremendous, thundering, majestic closing song “Silver Machine”. Mesmerising. Video

Setlist: Assault and Battery; The Golden Void; Shot Down in the Night; Paradox; We Took the Wrong Step Years Ago; The Black Corridor; The Watcher; Sonic Attack; Damnation Alley; Zarozinia; Intro the Night; Down Through the Night; Have You Seen Them; Arrival in Utopia. Encore: Spirit of the Age; Hymn to the Sun; Silver Machine.


The Pretty Things and Arthur Brown Newcastle Tyne Theatre 5th October 2002

The Pretty Things and Arthur Brown Newcastle Tyne Theatre 5th October 2002
prttythingslpWhen I was a kid, way back in 1968, I received some record vouchers as part of my Christmas present. Now lps were precious items in those days; I went to the local record shop and spent ages choosing which discs to spend my vouchers on. In the end I chose “Prophets Seers and Sages, the Angels of the Ages” by Tyrannosaurus Rex and “Crazy World of Arthur Brown”. Both good choices. A few months later I came across and bought a copy of The Pretty Things’ “S F Sorrow” in a second hand shop. I played those albums constantly on our new home stereo system. The Arthur Brown lp had such wonderful prog tracks as “Spontaneous Apple Creation”, “Child of My Kingdom” and (of course) “Fire” and “Fire Poem”, featuring Arthur’s manic soaring vocals and the late great Vincent Crane’s rich swirling Hammond organ. And S F Sorrow simply amazed me; with its rich mix of great pop hooks, R&B, and psych. “Baron Saturday”, “She Says Good Morning” and “Loneliest Person” were my favourite tracks.
prttytixI first got to see Arthur Brown live around 1973 at a Kingdom Come gig in Sunderland Polytechnic Wearmouth Hall. That concert was spectacular, and unlike anything I’ve ever see before or since. The show started with Arthur being tied to a large wooden cross in a simulated crucifixion, featured a massive brain being chased around the hall by the pope, and concluded with Arthur being dragged from stage in a straitjacket.
arthurThe first time I saw The Pretty Things live was at Sunderland Locarno, in January 1973. Their set at the time drew heavily from S F Sorrow and also included some of their classic 60s R&B singles. Phil May had the longest hair I had ever seen, and remains to this day one of our best rock vocalists and front men. I saw them a few times after that gig, supporting touring acts at Newcastle City Hall; once with Status Quo, and with a few other bands; exactly who I don’t remember, maybe Bad Company.

So some 30 odd years later, this gig at the Tyne Theatre teamed up two of my favourite acts. Arthur was as crazy and powerful as ever, and the Pretty Things played much of S F Sorrow, featuring a line-up which reunited many of the original band members. Arthur also joined The Pretty Things for a couple of songs. Arthur signed my ticket with a weird hippy third eye, and Phil May and the rest of The Pretty Things signed a reissue copy of S F Sorrow which was on sale at the venue. A great night. Oh and David came along with me and became a fan of Arthur and The Pretty Things that night 🙂

HRH Prog Fest Magna Centre Rotherham 6 April 2013

HRH Prog Fest Magna Centre Rotherham 6 April 2013
magna1 I won free tickets for the Prog fest at the Magna Centre yesterday, and drove down to Rotherham for this event with my mate Norm. The line-up was headed by Hawkwind, and featured a host of other prog-related acts including the Strawbs, It Bites, and Arthur Brown. We arrive at around 5pm just is time to catch Arthur Brown. Arthur is doing a great job of recreating the psych-tinged R&B which featured on his first album. His set is drawn largely from that album, and he fronts a new band of excellent musicians, including a great keyboard player and guitarist. He is also accompanied by a dancer, with whom Arthur engages in some crazy, comical moves. His voice is as strong as ever; the Crazy World lives on. After seeing Arthur and his Crazy World we nipped out to Ben and Jerrys in Meadowhall for a bite to eat, and returned in time to catch the end of It Bites’ set, including Calling All The Heroes.
The Magna centre is an intriguing venue for a rock festival. It is housed in a massive old steelworks, which in its day will have been at the heart of the Sheffield steel industry, and by day it is a visitor attraction showing the history of steelmaking. The festival took up much of Magna over this weekend with some festivals in one taking place: the Prog fest which was the reason for our visit and its companion AOR fest, both organised by HRH. Each festival had two stages: the Prog fest main stage was in the “Face of Steel” and stage 2 was in “Earth”. For the AOR fest the main stage was in the Big Hall, and the second stage was in “Fire”. Signing sessions took place in the “Fuel” restaurant: we headed their after It Bites, lined up and got a flyer signed by some of the members of Hawkwind (sadly Dave Brock did not come along 😦 ).
magna We then found our way to the strange little room, which was “Earth” at the other end of the venue, and watched a little of the acoustic Strawbs, before heading back to the “Face of Steel” for Hawkwind, who opened their set with my favourite “Master of the Universe”. It was really getting cold by now; the size of Magna, with massive high ceilings, means that it is probably impossible to keep warm now, although it will have been red hot in its day when it housed a furnace. Norm and I have experienced how cold it is before, when we went to see Hawkwind ay a fan club event a few years ago on a cold December night. We watched a little more of Hawkwind’s set and then decided to keep warm by moving around and visiting the AOR fest. The Main Hall was packed for Tesla who seemed an intriguing rock band. We then went up to “Fire” where we watched a couple of songs of Estrella. Then it was back round to Hawkwind again, passing “Earth” where Karnataka were playing. Hawkwind finished their set around 11pm with Damnation Alley from the Quark, Strangeness and Charm album. Hawkwind have been playing the entire Warrior at the Edge of Time album on their current tour, with dancers and light show. Apparently the stage at the Prog fest wasn’t big enough for the show, so Hawkwind decided to revert to a standard set. As it was getting late by the time Hawkwind finished and we had a two hour drive home we decided to pass on seeing Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash and heading for the M1 north. Got home 1am. The festival was fun, but the venue was FREEZING…..

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown Fibbers York 19 Oct 2012

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown Fibbers York 19 Oct 2012
Laura had expressed interest in seeing veteran psych crazy guy Arthur Brown, so last night we took a trip to York to see our hero perform in all his splendour at Fibbers Club. The current Arthur Brown show returns to the “Crazy World of” moniker and concept, and thus focusses on his early material, drawing heavily from the 1968 album of the same name. Arthur has put together a band of young musicians who authentically replicate the 60s sound, with swirling keyboards reminiscent of the late great Vincent Crane (courtesy of Lucyy Rejchrtova), and lots of fuzz and wahwah guitar (from Nona Gromniak). Jim Mortimer is on bass, and was also introduced as the musical director of Arthur’s latest project, and on drums is Samuel Walker. Arthur was accompanied at the front of stage by dancer Angel Fallon, who wore a series of bright different costumes throughout the show. We arrived around 8pm and said hello to Charlie who was doing the sound. The set was a mix of covers (Kites, Green Manalishi) and tracks from the early days (Devils Grip, Spontaneous Apple Creation, I Put a Spell on You). Quite a few of the other songs in the set sounded familiar to me, but I’m not able to put a name to them. Arthur was as manic as ever and in good spirits, having a bit chat to us all, and indulging in some crazy, silly dancing. The new show is very theatrical and Arthur and the band have obviously put a lot into creating it. It features lots of costume changes, and great dance routines between Arthur and Angel. The band took to the stage wearing quite spooky bird masks with massive beaks, which set the tone for a quite dark night. The set ended with Fire with Arthur going  mad, and Angel in a splendid costume with a massive silver cape and a large crown-like hat. Arthur’s voice is really strong, with screaming very much in evidence; not bad for a guy who entered his 7oth year in 2012. The encore was a super version of The Animals’ Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood. The crowd loved it, as did Laura and I. Support act The Moulettes are worth a special mention. They were very different and quite unexpected, playing acoustic instruments: violin, cello, autoharp, bassoon; their music being a blend of folk and elizabethan. They reminded me a little of Blackmore’s night, and are certainly worth watching out for. Apologies for the grainy photo, I am really going to have to practice using my iphone camera.

Arthur Brown in concert 1973 – present

Arthur Brown is a total one-off. From the moment I saw the guy singing Fire on Top of the Pops in 1968, I knew he was something special. I went out and bought his first lp, which had such wonderful prog tracks as Spontaneous Apple Creation, Child of My Kingdom and Fire Poem, featuring Arthur’s manic soaring vocals and the late great Vincent Crane’s rich swirling Hammond organ. I first got to see Arthur Brown live around 1973 at a Kingdom Come gig in Sunderland Polytechnic Wearmouth Hall. That gig was spectacular, and unlike anything I’ver ever see before or since. Remember, this was before Alice Cooper and any other rock theatre, and it was sensational. The stage was set with a massive wooden cross as its centre. Arthur was brought on stage and tied to the cross in a simulated crucifixion, where he stayed as he sang the first song. His voice was so strong, deep, loud and operatic in texture. His hair was very long, and the rest of the band looked pretty menacing, with lots of make up. After the first song Arthur leapt from the cross and started dancing around the stage like a madman. At one point in the set they had a section called The Brain, where one of the band crawled into the audience in a massive brain costume (it worked better than it reads…) followed by another member dressed as a priest. The priest then chased the brain around the hall, eventually capturing it while Arthur sang something about religion screwing up your brain. Pretty heavy stuff, but it worked, and blew my mind as a teenager. At the end of the set all of the band departed, leaving Arthur alone on stage singing a strange rambling song which appeared to be totally improvised. After some time the band came back on stage, captured Arthur, put him in a white straitjacket and dragged him off still singing and screaming. I wish I had this on video. Arthur disappeared for a long time from the scene during the 80s, and reappeared in the UK in the late 90s. The next time I saw him live was at a free open air show in Tynemouth. His set was pretty much as it is today, often starting with Dylan’s Hard Rains Gonna Fall, with Arthur wearing a black mask, eerily tapping a long walking stick on the floor as he slowly walks up to the stage. Other regulars in his set are I Put a Spell on You, Time Captives, Spontaneous Apple Creation, and of course Fire. Sometimes he plays covers such as Green Manalishi, Kites and How Strong my Love is. I’ve seen him a few times over the past 10 or so years. Once in his home town of Whitby (see ticket), and also as support act for Robert Plant, The Pretty Things, where he signed my ticket (I will look that out and scan it in for this post) and Hawkwind. He never fails to amaze, his voice is as strong as ever, and the guy has so much energy. The true God of Hellfire!

Hawkwind and Arthur Brown Newcastle Academy Dec 19th

Hawkwind and Arthur Brown Newcastle Academy Dec 19th
Will and I went to see this great double bill at the Academy last Saturday. Hawkwind are celebrating 40 years on the road, and Arthur Brown has been treading the boards for more than that.

We knew the gig was set to start early (the ticket said 6.30 start) so we left in plenty of time to make sure (we thought) that we were there to catch Arthur. We arrived at around 7pm and Athur was already on stage. He’s still a great showman with some mad dancing all over the stage, and great costumes including a sunflower. He did a wonderful version of Fire, backed by a guitarist and keyboard player.

A short break and Hawkwind took to the stage at around 8pm. They have obviously put a lot into this stage show. The lighting is super-psychedlic and the two girl dancers had endless costume changes, starting off as robotic androids, becoming grim reapers for Angels of Death, and transforming into sea creatures in another song. There were many more costumes changes, so many that I can’t remember them all! Hawkwind are playing better than ever these days, with Dave Brock and the band really seeming to enjoy themselves. The set was a mixture of old and new, including old favourite Silver Machine. A few more old favourites would have been welcome (I wanted Master of the Universe and Will wanted the full version of Space is Deep), but hey you can’t complain; its great that the band are still gigging and playing as great as this.

set list: (something like; may not be exactly right) : Lighthouse; Fahrenheit 451; Sentinel; Space is Deep (spoken); Angels of Death; Silver Machine; Green Machine; Wraith; Prometheus; Warriors; Magnu; Tide of the Century; You’d Better Believe It; Levitation; Right to Decide; Spirit of the Age; Encore: Hassan-i-Sahba

website Hawkwind:
website Arthur Brown

I hate print-out tickets