Friday, 17 March 2017

Totnes gig at Unit23, part 1: Invisible Opera Company of Tibet

Totnes on the River Dart, Devon's Glastonbury, they say, was our destination this evening for a night of musical entertainment at Unit23. Unit23 a great little venue well suited to the times, a unit on an industrial estate, it's well laid out, a good sized space with balconies/mezzanine on three sides, no frills, but well functional, with good sound too; a great place. At a time when small/medium town centre venues are being pushed out, places on the periphery are ideally suited to fill a need.  A need for live music. No neighbours to piss off, either.  We were here to catch Magic Bus and Gong, although when we arrived we discovered that that Gong family favourite, the Invisible Opera Company of Tibet had been added to the evening, and what a great way to start the evening. There's a nice funky punky rock vibe to the Invisible Opera Company of Tibet, they're a band which always keep it real.  A nice mix of tracks, a couple of old Here & Now/Gong numbers from the 'Floating Anarchy' period, one which was 'Stoned Innocent Frankenstein' which was interrupted by interference from guitarist Brian Zero's musical t shirt.  All the bands tracks have lyrics that have something to say, this is proper festy/protest music, it's got a DIY feel to it, and is performed with fashion and humour.  That not to suggest that it's amateur or anything, not at all, they're all great well seasoned musicians and performers.  Jackie Juno delivers her vocals with gusto, and both her and Catriona McTeabag, on backing vocals, give flamboyant expressive performances. Tracy Austin-tatious Loquacious, on drums, and Phil Whitehouse, on bass, effortlessly created a bouncy uplifting rhythm section. Whilst Julian Veasy put in a solid performance on keys and synth. All great musicians. Even though there's a punky element to the sound and performance, it's also warm and engaging. The band didn't do a very long set, though what they did do was quality, and was a great appetizer for what was to come. As I say, the Invisible Opera Company of Tibet's music and performance has a real old school free festy feel to it and it's lovely. And, hey, a bit of Tory cussing too. Can't be bad.

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