Less than a week into 2017 and we're at our first gig of the year, Music of the Andys at the King Arthur in Glastonbury; a great band in my favourite venue. It might be a bit of a journey (2 or so hours each way), but the 'Arthur' never fails to facilitate top evenings, and is always worth the travelling. For those who don't know (you need to sort that out!) Music of the Andys are Andy Roid (Andy Roger) of Here and Now on keyboards, synths and assorted twiddly stuff, and Andy Burrows of, er..., remiss of me as it is, I don't know if Andy B is in any other bands, on guitar. Two bloody good musicians, and jolly nice chaps. Music of the Andys have only existed for a year, though you'd never guess that by their tight sound and clean performances, and for just two fellows (yeah, there are three people in the photo, I'll get to that) they create a big sound that fills a room to bursting.
First though there was a support act, Shifty. Shifty are a four piece, Andrew Shackleton on laptop (I know there's more to it than that, but I don't know what it is) Andrew Schofield on vocals, harmonica and drums (he also had a utility belt of musical things), Graeme Lawson on guitar aMauve La Bichend Paul Boswell on bass. I'd not seen Shifty before though thoroughly enjoyed their performance. I don't really know how best to describe their sound, they're dancey, with electronic elements, rocky segments all delivered with punky gusto (here's their promo). Front man Andrew Schofield was very animated and I loved his use of harmonica. Great festival music, I reckon. I was saying to a friend I could imagine bouncing about to Shifty in a festival marquee. They played a good set. I think (though I could be wrong) that they're a relatively new outfit, and with that in mind, I for one look forward to seeing how they develop.After a quick change over, the 'Andys' wasted no time in setting about opening trans-dimensional portals to a plethora of swirling soundscapes. The 'Andys' skill in forging amazingly textured soundscapes, deep and sumptuous musical worlds to get lost in, is a wonder. We've seen them a few times now, and at each performance they just keep getting better, which is some achievement as their first gig (first one we saw, anyway) was a corker. From the get go the Andys began our immersion process. Andy Roger is a master of keyboard and synth, appearing to effortlessly create wondrously textured ethereal musical vistas on demand, which he did to great effect. Studiously draped over his stack of keyboards and twiddle boxes, head in close, as if communicating with them, Andy R built up layer upon layer of lovely trippy sounds, on a foundation of wonderful hypnotic trancey beats and rhythms. Maybe there's some crazy symbiosis going on between man and machine? He's also known as Andy Roid, remember. The foundations of their musical universe established, Andy Burrows now set about overlaying it with some magnificent guitar work. Andy Burrows really knows how to make the most of his guitar, he's all over his fretboard like a rash, his fingers a blur, not only that but he's using the whole guitar as an instrument, tapping it here, stroking it there, doing whatever it takes to get his desired sound. Like a guitar wielding silver surfer, or more aptly the silver shredder, Andy B's guitar noodling glid with ease through the musical universe they'd created, stitching it all together. These guys know their onions! Tracks this evening included: the 'Goose of Perception' (a favourite of mine) a long floaty ethereal number which you simply melt into and drift along with, just beautiful; it also includes a great sample of performer Matthew Silver (good choice). There was the 'Banger' a much heavier droney number with a powerful and repetitively hypnotic back beat (like a steam hammer) overlaid with great synth twiddling and some far out shredding and noodling showing off Andy B's guitar skills. Finally, as a special treat, for their last track 'Killed by Yoga' (a new track) they were joined by Mark Robson (of Kangaroo Moon and Here and Now) on didgeridoo. Killed by Yoga has a softer hypnotic drone which slowly built up as it phased in and out, pulsating almost. A magical musical meditation, beautifully performed by three music yogis; the addition of the didg was inspired. The end of each track was met with enthusiastic applause, well, it would wouldn't it. Well played, sirs!
But then, it was over. Well, the Andys continue to surpass themselves, I for one could have listened to more and I know I wasn't alone. That was a memorable set, I thank you. I think the Andy's enjoyed it too, which is nice. Word on the street is Music of the Andys will be releasing something in the coming months, and if you can't get to see them (though I recommend you do), whatever they release will be well worth getting a copy of. In the meantime to sample their magic, check out 'the goose of perception' on their bandcamp page.
As usual the Arthur was a treat, nice staff, nice regulars (we saw Annie, though she ignored us) and a great sound. It's mad that we'd travel 4 hours (round trip) to a venue with such regularity, but the 'Arthur' really does consistently come up with the goods, booking after booking of class acts. Looking forward at their 2017 calendar, so far this year looks like more of the same.....fantastico! Cary Grace was at the show tonight, if you've not seen Cary live, you must. I saw on the Arthur's calender that she's got a couple of performances pencilled in, one with The Luck of Eden Hall (or at least some of them); I can't wait. I must mention that Shifty's Andrew Shackleton provided some lovely visuals which complimented the Andys music perfectly, well played, sir.
Well, what a top night and what a great musical start to the new year. Cheers y'all! Much appreciated.