The Plastic People Of The Universe Live at Queen Elizabeth Hall 24.1.07.

The Plastic People Of The Universe First UK Gig

Originally Posted              1/29/2007

The Plastic People Of The Universe 24.1.07.

The First Uk Performance supported by Peter

Blegvad, Chris Cutler, John Greaves and

Kristoffer Blegvad. Queen Elizabeth hall The

Southbank.

 

Yes indeed what a way to start my gig going for

2007 with the first ever London show by this most

revolutionary of 1960’s bands, who spent most of

the 1970’s and 1980’s fighting with the

authorities in Czechoslovakia, being arrested and

thrown in Prison for their music.

A band Vaclav Havel insisted reform to play after

the Velvet Revolution that the band helped to

inspire. They were also the band that Lou Reed

insisted support the Velvet Underground when they

played in Prague on the Reunion tour.

Those were certainly the reason I went not even

knowing who the support act was going to be!

The foyer was filled with just about every

serious music fan in London and loads of

Musicians, sorry to anyone I didn’t get to talk

to like Horton and Dan from They Came From The

Stars.

The Hall was two thirds full for the support act

who were playing at the special request of the

Plastic People Of The Universe.

It is always great to see Chris Cutler play and

back with his old sparring partners of Peter

Blegvad and John Greaves was always going to be

good they started with 3 songs about car crashes

played in a woozy blues style not unlike JJ Cale

beautifully played but a bit pedestrian, Peter

was in good voice and joking about between songs

especially with or about his brother Kristoffer

who was playing guitar and egg shaker as well as

some vocals. The whole set was mellow blues that

I was hoping was going to break out and go a lot

madder than it did, but I really like the version

of Hangman Hill they did towards the end. A fair

few folks walked back out to the foyer during

there set, but for the rest of us they went down

very well, but I wasn’t as knocked out as I

thought I should be!

After the break and having been given my

programme with a set list printed in it as well

as a free CD it was almost time for The Plastic

People Of The Universe But first an 11 minute

film of the band shot by Cesar di Ferrara FAMU

1970, the film was a great Black and white snap

shot of the band who all look like the Czech

Muppets band meets Cheech and Chong while trying

to be the Monkees climbing out of windows and

running around in what I guess is Prague, the

band come onto the stage towards the end of the

film to rapturous applause, they opened with He

Went For Blood after apologising that they had

decided to sing everything in Czech tonight, but

I’ll use the English titles in the programme.

Wow what a sound as the 7 piece got going like

Led Zepp meets Frank Zappa and gets a good dose

of Swedish Prog like Sammla Mammas Mannas and

Arbete and Fritid, this was dense dark and very

intense music, the second song of the night

Toxics from there Legendary “Egon Bondy’s Happy

Hearts Club Banned” album was the first tune that

really got me with the Bowed Double Bass tying

the rhythm down and just brewing up the storm for

the rest of the band to fly off of as they sing

about being addicted to Toxic Substances.

Then they played the best titled song of the

night “A Fly In The Morning Beer” the title says

enough of what a tale of despair this one is,

music from the tavern in hell some serious sax

attacking us all the while.

The more the set went on the more Swedish they

sounded having been listening to stuff like

Garmarna and the aforementioned Swedish bands

lately it sounded so similar yet darker and

denser which considering their history wasn’t

surprising, yet if this was the sound of actual

revolution it didn’t sound that scary even Long

Johns didn’t make me shiver with cold but they

certainly started to seriously trip me out and

stretch my mind with some very spacey jazz rock

Dear Mr K had such complex stuff going on while

conjuring up the claustrophobia of going further

and further underground, yet we were in a large

government funded concert hall, which was kind of

ironic!

By the time they closed with Little Canary that

was sung dedicated to Milan Hlavsa who is one of

the members of the band that didn’t make it

through to now I was close to overdosing on the

intensity of the music!!

Of course they left to loud applause and soon

came back for an encore that had many of the

Czech’s in the audience dancing at the side of

the hall and shouting for more of the Hits, what

we got was another good  blast of Plastic people

music that included some White Toadstools to send

us tripping off into the London Night knowing we

had seen another legendary band, reactions from

the friends I spoke to after were mixed many of

us were a little shell shocked it was that kind

of a gig!

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About simonovitch

Writer poet music freak etc etc based in London you'll find out more by reading my blogs.
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