Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

The only live music I saw while growing up was school and church music: Bach on the organ, school orchestras mangling Haydn, school choirs murdering Britten, school troupes absolutely torturing Gilbert and Sullivan.

When I was 15, I saw The Sensational Alex Harvey Band live at Leeds University. Seventies rock vaudeville. It blew my mind:

We sat on the floor in a small hall with a low stage. Everyone seemed to be very much taller than me. At first I couldn't see much of the stage but as the eveing progressed the audience seemed to shrink. It turned out everyone was sitting on cases of beer. As they drank, they got closer to the ground. By the end of the evening, half of them were horizontal. Not knowing how these things worked, I'd neglected to bring anything to drink--though I think others took pity on me and gave me a couple of tinnies. (For those of you who don't speak Northern, a tinny is a tin--a can--of beer.)

One of things I admired, and still do, is SAHB's fabulous sense of timing, their willingness to take a moment and let it...stretch. Oh, and the music was really, really loud. This evening in 1976 was where I saw, for the first time, someone try to curl up in the cone of a big bass speaker. No doubt that person now uses BSL (British Sign Language) because there wouldn't have been much of his eardrums left.

Anyway, I hope this enlivens your Thursday.

This blog has moved. My blog now lives here: