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Groove Farm - Astoria, London, 10/1/2006

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 15 / 3 / 2006

Groove Farm - Astoria, London, 10/1/2006


Green on Red reformed for a one off gig at the London Astoria in tribute to their drummer Alex McNichol who died recently. Anthony Strutt finds that in their 18 yeears apart they have lost none of their intensity

Now here's a great band. The band on stage are playing their first gig in 18 years in tribute to their now lost friend, drummer Alex McNichol, or as the band knew him, Big Dog. who passed away recently. Green on Red were always more popular in Europe than in their native America, attracting lots of friends and fans in the UK in particular. Before the band get on stage I'm in their honour full of Guinness.10 minutes before they come on my fellow Green on red buddy, Ian McNabb, wanders past and sings 'The Drifter' at me. We are both really looking forward to this. Barry Everitt, the boss of the London Borderline and Steve Wynn's manager, introduces the band and gives them a big build up. They are greeted as long lost friends, which they are, as soon as they wander on stage. Time slips away and we are back in 1987. Shockingly they have hardly aged at all. Frontman, Dan Stuart, looks fantastic,and only bassist Jack Waterson looks older. Dan starts by saying "By the way, this is the Real Green on Red. You're going to have to indulge an old man a little bit of shit. Man, I see you still haven't got girlfriends or wives. Shit, even I got that done." "We are here because we lost one of us. There was a beautiful guy, Alex McNichol. He upped and died on us, so we decided to meet up and I don't know why, but one thing lead to another. We want to apologise for all these reunions. We didnt want to do it. This is my family up on stage. It might be music. It might not be. Here goes..." And from here there it is just pure magic... 'Death and Angels' opens the set and is sung as a duet between Dan and keyboardist, Chris Cacavas. This is followed by near perfect readings of ''Hair of the Dog', 'Cheap Wine', 'Gravity Talks' and 'Jimmy Boy'. 'Keep on Moving' starts off slowly and elegantly, and recalls late 60's and early 70's country rock at its best, a sad tale, which here is perfectly executed. Dan has always had a great relationship with his audience, and asks us for our forgiveness because of the great leap in technology progressions.'Keep on Moving' ends up as fast as a moving train. '16 Ways', which is a song about sex,follows 'Time Ain't Nothing' was a rare 7 inch from a band who didn't really release 7 inch singles and is a lot of fun. 'The Drifter' drifts into town, and shines like gold, even amidst the dirt of the venue. 'Ain't It Funny' is much more of a jam than the original, but this band are masters of jamming. You can see alot of practice has gone into this, or maybe the magic just came back instantly ? Who knows ? 'We Ain't Free' and 'Clarksville' are slow but with a dark, desolate southern blues country feel, and then Green on Red are gone. When they return for their first encore, Dan says" Alright, alright, I feel for you people. It looks uncomfortable out there" and they go into their church-like anthem. 'Don't Shine Your Light on Me'. This just swims over us and sounds as religious as you could wish for without actually preaching. 'Fading Away', which follows, is as raucous as it ever was with its killer groove. The band then give it an extended work lasting 8 minutes. They then come back shortly for a second encore with 'Ghost Hand' and 'That's What Dreams are Made For' before leaving the stage for a final time. Absolute magic ! If you want better country rock, you will have to look hard to find it anywhere, except possibly from Neil Young. Green on Red play another one off gig on the 18th July at the London Koko and will be performing their 'Gas, Food, Lodging' album in ts entirety. Tickets are £17.50 and at that price it's worth every penny.

Picture Gallery:-
Groove Farm - Astoria, London, 10/1/2006

Groove Farm - Astoria, London, 10/1/2006

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