Tuesday 5 June 2007

T. Rex - The Lyceum, London

Sounds, 28 February 1976
I MET A TRUE love at a T. Rex concert, so he has a special affection. At that time he was assaulting America, expecting everybody to scream without working for it, and nobody did. Last Wednesday at the Lyceum was our first meeting since then.

The band now comprises Dino Dines (keyboards), Steve Currie (bass), Davey Lutton (drums), Gloria Jones (Fender Rhodes) and Tyrone Scott (keyboards). The latter two also provided some excellent vocalising. They play well, a pumping rhythm machine, but then T. Rex was the original Seventies rhythm machine.

They have a great slapping drum sound and a booming bass, and Marc's amalgamation of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley and other classic early riffs fits well within it. Unfortunately, this leaves the organ to fill in most of the non-rhythm textures, and just isn't strong enough to succeed.
It took until 'Jeepster', the second song, for the bopping elf to take over and it was great. T. Rex is now down to the hardcore fans for an audience; if they are to grow again they need to attract 'serious' rock fans, which means playing by the rules of that game.

To a large extent they did this. Bolan has an undeniable charisma, and on stage expends a lot of energy; combined with the strength of the band it has the makings of quite a show.
But where T. Rex should be playing their current compositions, especially when there are 13 of them on his latest album, he devoted a large portion of the set to a trip down memory lane. Within that context though, 'Children Of The Revolution' and 'Teenage Revolution' (which should have been a huge hit) were excellent, and 'Solid Gold Easy Action' made the single sound like a demo in comparison.

All through those songs, and even today, T. Rex has never lost its innocence. While Lou Reed is busy inspecting the subway of his veins Marc is singing about girls with frogs in their hand.
And yet the person singing these fairy tales looks (and there is no other word for it) debauched, perfect fodder for any number of Dorian Gray inspired fantasies. And bopping across the stage the way Marc does...It looked great, but it didn't feel right.

What it signified I'm not sure, but while most of the business people there looked under sufferance, there were (count 'em) seven photographers angling for space at the front of the stage. Marc obliged them wonderfully.

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