Gig Review

Easy Star All Stars
John Browns Body
Poole, Mr Kyps
9th October 2009
Easy Star All Stars          John Browns Body 
This was my first visit to Mr Kyp's – despite it not being far from where I live. And initial impressions about the venue were instantly dashed upon walking inside. What seems to be an old church or school hall from outside, has been renovated inside into a fairly decent venue. The tall peaked ceiling thankfully lowered in the name of acoustics, and a perfectly sized room that meant that even if you were standing at the back by the bar, it still felt relatively intimate.

First up were John Brown's Body, a group who are on the Easy Star record label. This is going to be short and sweet, but at the end of the day they were fantastic. The lead vocalist, who ended the set drenched from head to toe in sweat, had one of the most amazing voices I've ever heard. The notes he could reach, were unbelievable. I stood there in awe, taking it all in, with absolutely no knowledge of what was being played. Absorbing my surroundings, the venue, the great music, and the band, amusing myself thinking how the bassist looked like he should be in some kind of Limp Bizkit-esque group. I have a limited knowledge on Reggae so I won't embarrass myself, but my friend Larry was about six foot away skanking like a nutter. Admittedly he's quite get-up-and-go, but they can't have been bad. My only personal issue is that reggae seems to go on and on, and John Brown's Body were no exception – the same bass riff plodding along for what felt like about six minutes, only to stop and do it all over again with a new one. But that's just the way reggae is, I can't hold that against them. They were quite fantastic.

After a forty-five minute set, they left the stage and we began to wait for the Easy Stars, who came on stage to Radiohead's “National Anthem.” For those of you who aren't familiar with the song (and it's epic-ness) the song breaks down into a scrambled mess of various instruments. And at about this point in the song, Easy Stars all started making general noise from their instruments. Which I thought was a nice touch. As the song faded out and ended, they introduced themselves and kicked off with some of their original tracks. Most famous for their cover albums of Radiohead's /OK Computer/, Pink Floyd's /Dark Side Of The Moon, /and The Beatles /Sgt. Pepper's, /the Easy Stars have a single EP of original songs released last year. Opening with the title track of that EP “Until That Day,” it was clear we were in for a treat. Having managed to catch them at Glastonbury this year, I knew what to expect – but as always, seeing a group at their own show indoors is always a whole different experience. The bass was cranked right up, and everyone was having a good time. After sneaking in a cheeky unreleased track, it was time to plug the new album, /Sgt Peppers./ First up, one of my personal favourites, the upbeat /Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band;/ and the generally older audience were singing along and having a boogie. Easy Stars appeal to all ages, and make reggae a more accessible genre to people routed in the rock and alternative genres. /A Little Help From My Friends/ followed, and /Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds /too. The Beatles tracks were almost over once /Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite/ and /Lovely Rita/ had ended, not to the crowd's dismay. As far as I'm aware, /Radiodread/ and certainly /Dub Side Of The Moon/ are far more treasured
albums than /Easy Stars Lonely Hearts Dub Band/ although I guess that could all change.

The Easy Stars are an upbeat bunch, with the expected set up of guitar, bass, keys and brass. Vocal leads are shared between some of the band members, two male and one female, bouncing around the stage and rocking from side to side, in that special way that reggae makes you do. There's something about it, that just makes you bob around, and you can't escape it.

The change in albums began with the painfully epic rendition of /Speak To Me/Breathe (In The Air)/ and the mighty /Money/. Arguably, in general, the crowd's favourite tracks. We were now beyond the 11 o clock mark, I was waiting at any time for them to call it a day. But alas, it isn't over until the fat lady sings. And given that there were none present, it didn't look like it was going to end. /When I'm Sixty-Four/ marked the final Beatles song of the night before we travelled into Radiohead territory with /Paranoid Android, Let Down, and Electioneering./ The set finished up with /Time/ and /Karma Police/ which went down to a crowd vote. And that was that. No encore, but remarkably they'd continued to play right through until midnight – possibly the latest I'd ever left a gig.

John Browns Body 4.5/5
Easy Star All Stars 5/5

Review By Thom

 Easy Star All Stars

Michael Goldwasser
Victor "Ticklah" Axelrod
Patrick Dougher
Victor Rice

 John Browns Body

Elliot Martin (Lead Vocals)
Tommy Benedetti (Drums)
Nate Edgar (Bass)
Matthew Kofi Goodwin (Hammond B3, Clavinet, Synths)
Mike Keenan (Guitar)
Scott Flynn (Trombone)
Drew Sayers (Saxophone)
Sam Dechenne (Trumpet)
Jocko (Sound Engineer)

 Band Related Links
Easy Star All Stars Myspace
John Browns Body Myspace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?