|The Urban Voodoo Machine - York, Fibbers - 14th January 2011|
|Written by Ben Hughes|
|Saturday, 22 January 2011 04:00|
The best description of this band's music is the title of their debut album, 'Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop 'n' Stroll', and a fine album it is too, mixing elements of spaghetti western, gypsy music, blues, rockabilly and rock 'n' roll. Formed in 2003 by Norwegian born mainman Paul-Ronney Angel, the band consist of between 7-12 musicians including two drummers, accordian player, upright bass, sax, trumpet..you name it they got it!
They have their own club night, The Gypsy Hotel in London, a regularly sold out event Timeout quoted as saying "The sort of night you'd go to if you have just 12 hours to live.A riotous party." I have been wanting to see this band for a while after picking up their album last year and falling for the charms of the sweet gypsy rock 'n' roll tunes reminding me especially of the classic Johnny Thunders & Patti Palladin album 'Copy Cats', so I was excited to see they were playing at the recently refurbished Fibbers, a great little venue where I have seen many a great band.
The biggest shock of the night was walking in; Fibbers is no longer a pub, it's now a club and completely unrecognisable, like walking into the Tardis for the first time. It still retains its charm and the money has been well spent, apart from the drink prices - two cans of Red Stripe and the barman hands me a small handful of coins in exchange for my crisp tenner! That apparently is progress. After a long wait the band come on dressed in the trademark black and red, straight in with 'The Theme From The Urban Voodoo Machine', their own homage to spaghetti westerns. Paul-Rooney Angel is the star of the show leading his band of merry men through great versions of tunes from the debut album and some new songs from the soon to be released 'In Black 'n' Red'. Highlights for me were 'Two Ships' with Angel getting the crowd to clap the beat before leading into the song, pulling a guy from the crowd to sit on his lap then singing 'Love Song #666' to him, "So I fucked your sister, tried it on with your mother", with its surf guitar break and trumpet it's brilliant stuff. It's all about audience participation folks and Angel and his gang are pros; several times Angel ventures into the crowd through to the bar and back, he switches between acoustic and electric, banjo and mandolin, backed always by Nick Marsh on guitar, a priest on upright bass, accordian, trumpet, sax and various percussion. Did I mention the drummers? One looks like Richey Manic and the other is green! Like a zombified Brian Blessed, they work well switching kits with each other and showing lots of energy, jumping about and standing on their drum stools.
When they are good they are blinding, 'Orphans Lament' is a fantastic song, 'Always Out' shines, 'Killer Sound', with its synchronised tribal drum intro, is pure New York Dolls. They look good too, a lot of effort has gone into the show, the band have a loose raggedy feel but it never feels like it will fall apart. Their strengths lie in the diversity of their sound, mixing so much together crosses many genres of music, there's a bit for everyone whether you're into rock, punk, blues, cabaret or just damn fine music.
There are some breaks where it all loses a bit of momentum, mostly during new unfamiliar songs, but they are a promising band for sure and I will part with my hard earned to see them again. I highly recommend you go check 'em out soon, as they plan a full UK tour in the spring.