THE URBAN VOODOO MACHINE + ALAN CLAYTON – THE PRINCE ALBERT, BRIGHTON 8.10.21 &
THE URBAN VOODOO MACHINE + KELLEY SWINDALL + TENSHEDS – THE PRINCE ALBERT, BRIGHTON 9.10.21
What could be better than an evening in the company of The Urban Voodoo Machine? Well, how about two? You heard right. Those purveyors of Gypsy Blues bop and stroll have headed down to the coast to soak up some early autumn rays of sunshine, get an ice cream or two and lay down two sets at the excellent Prince Albert on Trafalgar Street.
TUVM have been alive and kicking since 2003, and there is no other band quite like them. They’ve played every festival you can imagine and are as comfortable on the bill with The Pogues as they are with The New York Dolls. Paul-Ronney Angel’s troupe of devils and demons is a cabaret act from the outside, but beneath the costumes and face paint lies the engine of a beautifully tuned rockin’ punked up ragtime mariachi good time band.
Last night, we caught the first sweaty evening and were ready to lap up another bourbon-soaked set from the London-based band. Yep, they’ve all managed to squeeze themselves onto the small stage at The Albert, and there’s still room to swing a guitar or two.
Last night kicked off with a thirty-minute set from Alan Clayton from The Dirty Strangers doing a solo acoustic set. It’s down and dirty rock ‘n’ roll, a few new numbers including ‘Cell Block No.5’ and a seaside vibe to a couple of the tracks, notably ‘Bathing Belles’. The final number, ‘Wild One’, was dedicated to the recently departed guitarist/songwriter Darrell Bath (The Dogs D’Amour, U.K. Subs, The Godfathers) whose memorial took place only hours earlier with both bands in attendance.
Tonight’s support comes in two very different flavours, and the first up is Kelley Swindall, currently doing a short tour of the UK on her own and is pretty damn excited to be on the bill here tonight. With guitar in hand, this country blues songstress takes us through 5 songs in the relatively short 20 minute set, but they are all golden, and you can’t help getting hooked in. All delivered with that Southern drawl of hers and a wicked smile on her lips. ‘The Murder Song’ and ‘You Can Call Me Darlin If You Want’ both stick out of an impressive set. If country’s your thing, go check out Kelley Swindall. You won’t be disappointed, and I’ll certainly be looking out for her next time she comes to the UK.
Up next is Tensheds, and it’s another treat for the Prince Albert crowd. A genius mix of classical piano and blues with dark gothic undertones, think Tom Waits vocals with the piano style of Jerry Lee Lewis playing classical, then you are somewhere in the ballpark. Tensheds is genuinely unique. Again it is a relatively short set but wholly engaging and enough to know that I’m eager to check out more from Tensheds. The highlight for me was the dark and beautifully melodic ‘The Bridge Song’.
The Urban Voodoo Machine delivered an intoxicating set last night, and tonight is no different. Yes, the setlist has changed, but they still give another sprawling 100 minutes of dark blues, tangos, mariachi and a lot of humour.
Highlights from Friday’s set for me were the rockin’ blues bash ‘Cheers For The Tears’, the wonderfully immortal ‘Love Song #666’ and ‘Fallen Brothers’ tonight dedicated to the recently departed guitarists Timo Kaltio and, of course, Brighton resident Darrell Bath. Rather than a minute’s silence, Angel calls for a minute’s noise and cheering to mark their passing.
During the encore, Paul-Ronney Angel comes to the stage alone for another fitting tribute with a cover of ‘Where Have All The Good Guys Gone’.
The set leans a little on the previous night’s. Still, it’s chiefly different, ‘Johnny Foreigner’, ‘Living In Fear’, ‘Crazy Maria’ and newbie ‘Empty Plastic Cup’ make an appearance both nights. The latter their latest single, and it’s a doozy, punk ragtime stomp with a backdrop of brass.
But highlights of the second set had to be ‘Help Me Jesus’, which gets the crowd singing and ‘Pipe And Slippers Man’, getting both Kelley Swindall and Tensheds on stage for a belting finale which ends with the whole band in the crowd and Angel playing the guitar from the bar counter. It’s a fitting end to a hot, sweaty and chaotic weekend at the Prince Albert. Let’s do it again next year!
The Urban Voodoo Machine Day One setlist (8th October):
‘Theme From The Urban Voodoo Machine’
‘High Jeopardy Thing’
‘Cheers For The Tears’
‘Not With You’
‘Train Wreck Blues’
‘Living in Fear’
‘Goodnight My Dear’
‘Empty Plastic Cup’
‘Love Song #666‘
‘Where Have All the Good Girls Gone’ (The Crybabys cover)
The Urban Voodoo Machine Day Two setlist (9th October):
‘Down In A Hole’
‘Living In Fear’
‘Empty Plastic Cup’
‘Pipe & Slippers Man’
‘Help Me Jesus’
‘While We Were All Asleep’
‘Goodbye To Another Year’
‘I’ll Fly Away’
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