The Urban Voodoo Machine + Johnny Cage And The Voodoogroove
The Globe, Cardiff. 4th October 2014
Where do I start with this one? Well, over the last few years The Urban Voodoo machine have been one of the bands that I’ve followed religiously (atheist that I am !!) catching them in a number of obscure venues across the country, along with a huge number of other Über Rock writers we’ve all been extolling the band’s virtues. To anyone prepared to listen. Every time I’ve seen them it’s been a different set, with musicians who make up the collective flitting in and out during the night, each musician adding a different layer to the sound, giving even the ever recent songs in their set a different feel depending on the personnel involved. But tonight we are sadly missing one of The Urban Voodoo Machine collective, and for all the very wrong reasons
I caught The Urban Voodoo Machine back last year with Robb ‘The Kid’ Skipper on fiddle and the way the songs were charged by his energy was a joy to watch, that hidden layer coming forward and the enthusiasm that only a huge personality could bring to the plate, and that folks is where I want to start this review.
I caught up with an understandably emotional Paul-Ronney Angel just prior to tonight’s show in a local watering hole and the “have you heard our news?” question he threw at me caught me dealing with my own shit. Robb ”The Kid” had died at too young an age just prior to this gig, we talked about it being the right thing to play and how sometimes you just have to lose yourself in the music and raise a glass in memory as tough as it might be to do that. Use the night as a celebration and hit it full on.
Guys from us all here at Über Rock we feel for you loss.
So tonight took on a whole new meaning emotionally for the band and by f#ck did it show, but more about that later, there was a support band to watch first, and being honest a new one on me. Wow though, because Johnny Cage And The Voodoogroove turned out to be one hell of an opener. Right from the first chords, I got it! That New Orleans Deep South groove just oozed from the stage, the vocal growl reminiscent of Tom Waits but hinting oat their influences as you got immersed in the groove, at times Rock ‘n’ Roll, at times Rockabilly, but at all times something to party too. These guys are the perfect opener for The Urban Voodoo Machine and boy did they warm the crowd up ready. It won’t be long before I catch these guys again on their own in the sleaziest venue I can find but more to the point, when I’m not driving. Watch out for a promised LP in January.
As The Godfather music rolled out across a packed Globe the band marched down the stairs stage right through the audience and as they hit the stage you just knew it was going to be a take no prisoners type of performance. And it was, the songs flew by…. we had at various stages ‘Cheers For The Tears’, we had ‘High Jeopardy Thing’ we had the introduction of new LP ‘Love Drink & Death’, and as frontman Paul pointed out to the crowd he really didn’t foresee the Death part coming only three weeks after release. Then suddenly the moment catches him, as I’ve said already …for all the wrong reasons. For that reason tonight had a different feel to other Machine shows I’ve attended over the last couple of years. You felt for the band, but they did themselves proud in the process and with a new album to promote it was this new material that made up the bulk of the set, We had in no particular order standing alongside the old faves ‘Pipe And Slippers Man’, ‘Crazy Maria’, ‘Not With You’, ‘Train Wreck Blues’, ‘Drinking My Life Away’, ‘Help Me Jesus’, ‘Goodnight My Dear’ and ‘Loretta’s Revenge’.
Live these tunes are totally different animals, the raw emotion in ‘Goodnight My Dear ’caught me cold, whilst ‘Your Hour Of Darkness’ was just outstanding. ‘Help Me Jesus’ meanwhile is show stopping, and add that to ‘Orphans lament’, ‘Heroin’, ‘Killer Sound’ (which closed down the set), Goodbye To Another Year’ and the finale of ‘Love Song #666’ and you get a band heading towards a peak of creativity.
In saying all this though I have to mention that there were some right f#cking idiots in the crowd tonight. You know who you are!!!! If you go to a venue where a band is playing, you don’t turn your back on the band stage front and chat amongst yourselves, get the F#ck out!!! You didn’t just piss off the band you pissed off the crowd near you, go and watch the latest big thing in your pretentious world, preferably in an enormodome…. where you belong. Small group of in-breds aside though the rest of the crowd tonight were superb and in full voice too, holding an impeccable minutes silence and raising glasses one and all to what was a celebration of music, life and desire.
All of us to a man or woman use music to get us through the highs and lows in life, we embrace it, we lose ourselves in it and we come out the other side, so raise a glass, hit life head on and get in the Voodoo groove, all the time cherish the memories, it’s what life is made of.
by Nev Brooks
Friday, 17 October 2014
Photos courtesy of Ramees Farooqi