Author Topic: Son of Man, Boom Boom Club, Sutton , 1st November 2014  (Read 3335 times)

Olly Goodwin

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Son of Man, Boom Boom Club, Sutton , 1st November 2014
« on: November 06, 2014, 05:51:44 PM »

"To begin... at the beginning...."oh to hell with that; to skip straight to the end. I left the gig after about two and a half hours, euphoric. The band was plainly well rehearsed, as tight as anything, with room for quite a bit of improvisation, and clearly all enjoying the gig enormously, as did the audience - the noisiest approval from a Man family gig for ages. A great venue and the sound was spot on. The closest comparison I can think of is the Manband flying at their creative peak in the mid -70s. I had been lucky enough to have been there back then , and they were the best live band in the world, IMHO.

I have the audacity to offer an update of Micky's legendary maxim " the Manband belongs to those who are in it" as follows; " the essence of the Manband is interwoven with Jones DNA". Son of Man played with the spirit of the epic 70s Manband.

Now where was I ? Ah yes, the beginning......
Dodging the fireworks caused me to miss most of Mark Pontin's set, but it was fast muscular blues originals, and went down very well with the already substantial crowd. Luckily we would hear more of Mark Pontin later.

An indecently short break in which to empty our piggy banks at the table of Mr and Mrs Heatley - the new Micky Jones and Son of Man T Shirts are very classy- and the inestimable Pete Feenstra bounded onto the stage to announce Son of Man. The six piece opened up with a storming " Love Your Life".   A lovely tribute to its main writer, Clint Space. It sounded similar to the version that opened up the set on the 40th anniversary tour, but with Glen Quinn on the second lead injecting a new fresh sound right from the off. Next up, "Talk About a Morning" George explained that the Buzzy Linhart song was one of Micky's favourites from Micky Jones Band / Flying Pigs days, which Micky took with him into the Man set from 1983 until probably the Twang Dynasty pushed it out . Richie Galloni's muscular vocal treatment was, I thought, a homage to Micky's vocal as captured on Friday 13th from the Marquee, right down to reproducing the note that Micky had to stretch for. So; bloody good, then. "Back together Again" followed, another which Micky had taken from his band into the reformed Man of 1983, and a joy and surprise to hear this again. What George didn't tell us was that Raymond Jones on bass had been in the Micky Jones band and had played these with Micky first time around - we were getting the real deal ! Raymond told me after the gig, and said he was loving being in the band with Micky and  having a great time until Micky announced he was going to reform a certain other band.....When I commented that the playing of Jones the bass reminded me a lot of the beautiful dancing bass of the sorely missed Ken Whaley, and not at all of Mr. Ace, he grinned broadly but said not a word.

George introduced "Hard Way to Die" as being "written by Micky's partner, our beloved Deke Leonard" . Another touching and fitting choice, George, and the Welsh three part harmonies were up to Manband standards, with a lovely keyboard break from Marco James, providing a wash of sound recalling the big keyboard influence of the 70s Man rather than the more muted keyboard contribution of the 90s and later. "All Alone" and Glen Quinn was playing George's main lick, and it sounded just as good, here and for much of the gig they are both on strats. George is as democratic as Micky was with taking the lead licks and solos, in fact I think Glen saw more of the action than in the latter day Man with Deke and Micky, when Deke seemed content to step back and listen to the best guitarist in the world take off into the stratosphere.

Next it is one of the classic intros to "C'Mon" with Glen taking the Deke parts, respectful yet very much his own sound and more fluid, another lovely keyboard break, ushering in a soundscape with the twin guitars playing under, over and around the wash of sound.This was followed by a guitar break with Jones Junior on aggressive, abrasive wah, and Glen on choppy , muted wah. Straight back to those 70s twin wahs of Maximum Darkness -which gave Man a unique sound. Such moments were very, very few and far between in the reformed Man.

New song "Guiding Hand" is introduced, as co-written by George and Bob Richards, along with some cryptic and not so cryptic references to Bob's appearance on the new AC/DC video - will he be joining AC/ DC ? Damn, what is it about Man drummers that makes them so good that some of the biggest bands around want to snap them up. Why on earth would Bob want to join an ageing rock band whose best work lay in the 70s and fronted by a diminuitive genius wielding an SG ? Oh, okay. Clearly it would be a great break for Bob, and he deserves it - his playing tonight was better than ever, and he brings a distinctive glue to the beat that is now firmly part of the authentic Man sound. I hope that it happens for him, but that his commitments allow him to record the forthcoming Son of Man album, and tour with the band. Guiding Hand has a similar pace to All Alone, with lovely solos from Glen and George from the bottom of the fretboard. Then another new song, I don't think they said what it was (Otherside?) , but again it was of a similar pace to All Alone, a real 70s guitar sound with ( what I think is ) massive reverb, like something out of Twin Peaks, and a great fluid solo from Glen, no slouch next to Mr. Jones.

Neil Young's "Ohio" from the set of the Sassafras section of the band, who outnumber the Man section. Actually if the former Tigertailz man has aligned himself with the Man contingent by seamlessly partnering George, then the two halves are stationed on opposite sides of the stage. I was reminded of Deke's fond observation that when he first watched Help Yourself play, they seemed to be two different bands playing competing styles, and indeed they were at the time. Not Son of Man, they look and sound like they have playing together for years, I can't really describe it without dipping into the inkwell of superlatives again. Just trust me, or bettter still, watch the videos from this gig on the Son of Man Facebook page, which renders attempts at descriptions here rather futile, so I'll focus on gossip. Anyway, Ohio fits right in with the West Coast ethos, and contained another great Glen solo. If I listened without watching, I couldn't tell whether it was George or Glen playing a lot of the time. Which is probably more an indication of my non-playing tin ear, as George told me afterwards that the reason he want ed to play with Glen was that his style was so different. He certainly has a worthy and equal playing partner, not insecure about sharing the limelight, just like his Dad. Amazing.

"Quasimode" is the final new song, slightly faster than All Alone and the other new songs, starting and ending with some swampy reverb, which George has explained has its origins in Man's  "Kingdom of Pain" sessions. Another great Glen solo in the middle.So far mostly it has been twin strats, except when George has been playing Micky's SG, but now George grins broadly as he unveils  the lovingly restored stratocaster on which Micky made about 90% of his music after liberating it from the gothic castle of the immortal John Cippolina in '75. " There is only one guitar to play this song" as the opening chords of " Call Down the Moon" open up, and for once, George eats up all the solos, Deke's and Micky's - George loves this song, and so do we. Shut your eyes, you'd swear it was Micky. It gets emotional.
"Romain" on Micky's SG and Glen brings out a Les Paul Gold Top. Despite a blistering solo,  personally, I have heard this one enough times to last a life time, and would like to see it replaced by my favourite Man studio track of all time, Kerosene.

The full hall bays for an encore, and they are back with the Vegetable Song , Bob's playing has been superb all night, alternately subtle and driving, but the traditional solo here is extended to twice the normal length and is astounding. One more ; Spunk Rock, and Mark Pontin returns to the stage in a fringed buckskin jacket as a homage to Micky, slinging a Deke-esque Telecaster - a tragic case of split personality? No, he took the first solo with aplomb, a rousing climax to the gig. `I've barely mentioned Richie Galloni, but he was great throughout, as were Jones the bass and Marco on keys.

The band is putting songs together for an album. I asked who is doing the writing, " All of us" came the reply. Should make for some strong and diverse material.

Afterwards, Glen told me that when he was learning to play guitar, he went to as many Man gigs as he could and stood at the front and watched the guitars intently. One of his first gigs was as support to Man in 1988 and he was terrified, George said he was also at that gig, but as a baby. Rumour has it that one of them threw up, and the other one shat themselves, but they won't say which was which.