The Soft Boys - Cambridge Junction 18th April 2001

2 for the price of one.......both pOoTer and Sir Eel review the occasion...!!

 

Click HERE for the setlist (added 24/06/2001)

 

 

An unexpected start to the night (apart from the sudden snowstorm outside) was finding Pete Kember AKA Sonic Boom on stage, hunched over a collection of old EMS analogue synths, OSCars, Vocoders an 8-track mixer, what looked like a Speak and Spell and a mass of patch cables. After splitting from Spacemen 3 in 1990 he formed EAR (Experimental Audio Resarch) in 1993 who are a collective of occasional musicians producing diverse forays into ambient space music and tonight was just that, with Sonic manning the controls on his own.
The audience, a mixture of 'forty something' original Soft Boys fans and a collection of much younger people had looks of utter confusion on many of their faces as Sonic cranked up the synth to produce a floating and bubbling wall of noise.

"Er...We're The Soft Boys from Cambridge...............in England..." announced Robyn to the excited crowd.
Apart from looking older and greyer they were on absolutely top form and Kimberley Rew was grinning from ear to ear, obviously immensely enjoying plundering the vaults of early Soft Boys songs.
Robyn took a little longer to get into the swing of things but was soon back to his manic and witty self and the band proceeded to treat us to many time honoured classics from A Can Of Bees, Underwater Moonlight and Invisible hits.
Among the songs played were:
Human Music, Old Pervert, Underwater Moonlight, Astronomy Domine, I Wanna Destroy You, Rock 'n' Roll Toilet, Only The Stones Remain, Kingdom Of Love, Insanely Jealous and The Face Of Death and these were all delivered on top form. Kimberley's distinct and crazed guitar style, backed up by Morris Windsor's excellent drumming and backing vocals, topped off with Robyns eccentric vocals were as good tonight as they were in 1978.

Robyn opened Old Pervert by explaining that had he not left Cambridge, he would have gone the way of the character in the song and also dedicated The Face Of Death to an old Cambridge eccentric who used to walk the streets back in the 80's dressed in flowing robes.
"Has anyone seen Roger Barrett..??" was the clue from Robyn for a truly awesome cover of Pink Floyd's Astronomy Domine that allowed Kimberley Rew to totally unleash his guitar skills.
Several songs and two rapturous encores later its was sadly all over and the audience stood there reeling in shock and awe at how good this band still are....................

 

For the train spotters amongst you, we even spotted one member of the audience with one of Robyns infamous 'cones'

Overall a VERY GOOD gig indeed, that sadly did not last long enough!!!

Reviewed by pOoTer

 

 

The gig opened up with support from Experimental Audio Research (EAR), formerly Sonic Boom. One guy, Pete Kember, and a host of electronic gadgetry that probably if you were tripping or if it was 3 a.m in the chill out zone, would work well. It was slow, eternally uneventful and it was only 8 0'clock at night and I was fired up for the Soft Boys. An hour passed by and then it happened.

Wake up mother fuckers, for upon you now is a cerebral fix.
Fronted by the irrepressible poet that is Robyn Hitchcock, who at 21 came to Cambridge and subsequently left years later to find fame on the American college circuit. Now he's back with the Soft Boys to kick our arses again using their punked up psychedelia.
Both Robyn Hitchcock and Kimberley Rew competing with their guitars, running their fingers up and down the necks of their instruments like furious demonic masturbators, sending out waves of psych riffs that washed over us like nectar.
How refreshing to watch a four piece band, no frills, gimmicks or gizmos, just musical purity and lyrically comical strangeness.
They oozed class in their output to provide a night to remember with a set that included,  Old pervert, I wanna destroy you, Only the stones remain, Sleeping with your devil mask on, Underwater moonlight, Astronomy domine, Rock & roll toilet, Face of death, Human music, Kingdom of love, train around the bend  and my personal favourite:- Insanely jealous,whereby Robyn and Kimberley showed  their masterly skills in wielding their guitars.
The drums being pounded like a hammer blow to the skull, executed forcefully by Morris Windsor, and the bass being delivered by Matthew  (I'm never gonna look older than 30) Seligman.

There it was, 1 1/2 hrs or so of brilliance.
We left The Junction with a feeling of wonderment 

Go check 'em out. You will not regret it.

Reviewed by, Sir Eel.

 

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Sunday, August 18, 2002