Style it takes…

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Not a regular gig reviewer, me, but sometimes a concert moves you to want to jump up and down and shout from the rooftops “This was fucking great!”

Such was the performance I saw last night by John Cale and his band, in the relatively small Concorde 2 in Brighton. An intimate setting for one with such a history, and Cale didn’t waste any time in filling the room with his mischievous brooding personality and songs. Cale’s current trajectory is loud and hard (check his latest album “Black Acetate”), and he delivered that in spades, scowling at the crowd as he chopped at his piano and guitar. No room in this set for the more cerebral end of his work, instead he went straight for the gut, rocking as hard as anyone I’ve seen. Absolutely excellent back up from his band too, three immaculate players that were equally at home with their electronics and atmospherics as with slabs of riff and rhythm. (I immediately wanted to kidnap them and force them to do my musical bidding.)

Highlights? a killer “Helen Of Troy”, the histrionic falsetto of “Outtathebag” (from “Black Acetate”), a trance inducing “Pablo Picasso” and an insane re-rendering of “Femme Fatale” incorporating the words of “Rose Garden Funeral Of Sores” that succeeded in turning one of the prettiest Velvets tunes into a deep howl of juxtaposed affliction. A man unafraid to merge his many pasts into a new form. I’m naturally deeply impressed.

No encore, which was a hell of a shame, but still the best concert I’ve seen all year, if not longer. If I can rock half as hard as this when I’m 64, I’ll be delighted. Mr.Cale? You’re an inspiration.