Friday, 29 October 2010
Andy White/Unlucky Fried Kitten
23 October 2010
The Cherry Tree
The evening’s events were started off by Andy White.
Andy White played an excellent selection of songs from the vast encyclopaedic collection he has committed to memory. Andy always goes down very well wherever he plays (Hope I haven’t just jinxed you Andy!), always on form and always well received. A true pro. I happen to know that he was not too well on the day, but you would never have known it from his performance. An excellent set!
Awoken from the figurative slumber of his day job by the promise of adulation, bright lights and Heineken, in from the moody backstreets of suburban Maidstone crept the sleeping monster that is Mr Fraser (aka Export).
Tonight, “The Kitten” were, Sam Crassweller (12 string bass) and Andy Export/Fraser (Vox), sporting matching hair colour (and matching underwear, allegedly) with Nifty Nick Hughes, on guitar and extreme headwear.
Sam (from Australia), had only had a brief rehearsal for the gig, so there was a potential for disaster due to unfamiliarity with the songs. Rest assured, Sammy was the true pro and all round “Good Sort” ...sorry, I mean “Good Sport” ;o)
“Made in Russia” kicked off the evening with a steady and heavily distorted bass riff from Sam, accompanied by a very lively Mr Hughes on new Guitar and new amp. In fact for a moment, I thought he may have literally “gone live” due to being inadvertently hooked up to the mains, but it was probably just excess natural energy (Or flatulence maybe?).
Andy eyed the audience in front of him, while assorted cameras, (still and video), captured the evening's proceedings. Sam forever steady on bass and Nick, who was particularly animated, joined Andy on backing vocals while performing lead fills, busy rhythmic runs and swapping hats all at the same time!
“Loserville” followed. Andy reiterated his usual spiel re the online dating agency and how he obtained his “Wife”, which was particularly poignant as he has been married 23 times and this gig was on the 23rd...and the song went on for 23 minutes.
Next up “My Town” followed by “The Seventies”, during which several 1970’s centric cuddly toys were produced and some unscripted banter ensued. He “doesn’t want to go to bed” and nor do we.
“Underground Worker” an old Export/Fraser/Export (and Hughes?) composition still does it for me. One of my UFK favourites. Andy “has been doing it for 24 years” he said. With the additional verses, it may now be 25.
“To Whom It May Concern” and “Happy Xmas” followed. Sam was performing small Bass improvisation/solos in between songs, solid stage right swelling the usual delicate sound of “The Kitten” almost to metallic proportions, whilst a very animated Nick Hughes jostled Andy in an attempt to topple him, in between sitting on stage and standing watching the band from the audience, while playing and chatting!
The Kitten sound was very heavy tonight with the addition of some massive bass lines from Sam while Nick pulled out all the stops on the guitar front, desperately vying for his piece of sonic ear space. Andy, as usual, excellent on vocals, solid between Sam and the whirling dervish that is Mr Hughes. Mr Fraser had a Ghandi like influence on proceedings, but of course possessed slightly more hair than Ghandi himself and lacked a loin cloth. (Although I have it on good authority that they both possessed a George Formby, “Turned Out Nice Again” 1941 Tour Tee shirt)
The nemesis of UFK, “Christine Keeler” followed. Not, the actual exhumed corpse of the socialite/escort who nearly brought down the government of course, but a song about her. I have seen this song started on many occasions, but alas, never finished. Something to do with the.....timing I believe?
“People”, probably my favourite UFK song, ended the actual pre planed set.
By this time, the Heineken was flowing thick through Mr Fraser's veins and the proceedings finally dissolved into the entertaining chaos, towards which it had been steadily heading all evening.
Nick took over for a while and went solo, Sam left for a short while (Probably for a fag?) Andy White joined Nick and Sam on stage, several songs where attempted and only half finished before others were started, it all became very spontaneous and the evening continued this way until The Kitten had eaten all the metaphorical Whiskas it could consume and was finally forced to retire to the comfy basket in the corner.
An excellent and entertaining evening, with a particularly spirited performance by all of The Kitten. Thanks also to all the lovely folk at the Cherry tree.
So for the next 24 hours I continued to subconsciously make up new verses to “People” just as I always do after a UFK gig....Damn you Fraser!
Saturday, 16 January 2010
Friday 16 January 2010
UFK Review – By Reasvey
Turned up fairly early at this interesting venue. The crowd built gradually through the evening and looked already to be into enjoying a great night out. After the bad weather, I think we could all do with cheering up a bit.
Andy White kicked off with a mixture of his own stuff and some alternative classics excellently played and well executed as usual, followed by Glenn Barnes interesting and excellent set, ranging between instrumental numbers to full songs energetically delivered for full impact. Next up was Dave Pickett of the Flowing who did a few numbers in his own indomitable style.
UFK tonight were Andy Fraser (Export) and Nic Hughes (Ex of Cenet Rox).
By this time the audience seemed up for a bit of mid Kent banter from the maestro, who clad in long leather trench coat would not have looked out of place on the door at Madame Cyn's place or as an extra in the Matrix. Nic clad in large thick coat lurked stage right like some malevolent spirit looking for a victim. The pair cut a nice contrast against the almost Scandinavian sauna style wooden backdrop of the wall behind and the cantina type surroundings of the venue.
Anyway, a pensive Fraser eyed the audience to announce the first number. Ronnie Woods and his Russian girlfriend were mentioned and the show started “Rolling”...
Made In Russia - As always with UFK, it’s great to see the reaction (Which is usually good) to the excellent and very humorous lyrics from people that might not have heard UFK before and today was no exception. I caught a couple of comments like "Did he say...at the end” etc.
A lumbering beast of a song building slowly to the slightly increased tempo of the refrain, "Made In Russia", Which I must admit that even after hearing this song loads of times, still invokes in me the need to scream "Made In Russia" at the top of my voice along with the band. (Apologies for this Rio as you probably got this full in the ear!)
It must be said that Nic Hughes playing really compliments the UFK songs and increases their appeal along with some backing vocals and of course his 50% part of the 2 man team that at times appears to be the musical equivalent of a modern day Morecombe and Wise. Nic adds just the right amount of embellishment to the songs, without affecting Mr Frasers unique style of delivery, giving the stripped down line ups sound that added bit of colour.
Loserville came next with Andy explaining the slightly dubious origins of the dating agency run by his mother in law and stating that this is how he found his wife, much to the chagrin of his current wife in the audience of course...I love this song and the lyrics, another great “sing a long a Kitten” numbers. The slightly melancholy feel/mood of the song with the wistful refrain "Dot Com" twisted artfully into a humorous “Dot Cotton” sums up the essence of many UFK songs.
Underground worker, one of my favourite UFK songs, very catchy and well delivered which included the excellent lyric "He's an underground worker he knows Ben Jones" (a reference to the very talented local musician.) Well performed along with some great improvisation by Nic.
To Whom It May Concern - I was a gangster working for the Abbey National...hmmmm
Another great song with the infectious "I'm mad, I'm mad I think I'm on the turn, I'm mad, I'm mad, to whom it may concern". Some great audience interaction with this song finally finishing with the immortal line..."How many paranoid schizophrenics do you see in an English country sanatorium"
Life in My Town - Opens a veritable Pandora’s Box of options lyric wise, which never seems to be the same each time it’s performed. Dartford, Strood and many other Kent towns were mentioned prompting the audience to call out their own preferred location...You may have missed Gillingham Andy...or maybe that was intentional for artistic reasons?
In their enthusiasm, UFK forgot the last verse...but Andy F rescued it by explaining "I have memory-dyslexia so I need the cue cards". The exuberant audience intent on a great night out interacted with UFK throughout this one and there was even dancing!
Songs are Here to Stay - A clever UFK ruse to re use other songs and tunes swapping the lyrics completely as suits them. After all, why waste a good tune?
Quite an understated genius involved in this song, made up completely of song titles which linked in with each other to form ….another song!.... Excellent job!
People - Probably my favourite UFK song and what a song to end on. Andy flashing his very own hand crafted cue cards at the audience, (some of whom were dancing) emphasising the current topic of the lyric. The hilarious subject matter emphasising the humour in “everyday lives” and some interesting aspects of some of our more interesting fellow human beings...Its only people, indeed!
Again a song I am unable to prevent myself from fan like chanting "People, People" at full volume into some poor sods ear along with the song, so infectious is this number. A great way to end the evening.
Andy F finished the set with the information “If you get a message on your computer saying 'Naked Susan Boyle Pictures' please DO NOT OPEN THE FILE....as it could contain pictures of Susan Boyle...naked!". As usual education and health and safety are always at the heart of UFK's manifesto.
A very entertaining evening indeed with a great crowd who had no problem enjoying themselves. A very strong line up for the whole evening really enjoyable.
Mr Fraser, devoid of his full dose of “medicine” due to having to drive, looked very sprightly and focused on proceedings, put on a great performance and matched by Hughesie's excellent accompaniment, made for a special night. Stage size prevented the usual walkabout by Andy F and Nic is also a prowler, eyeing the audience as he paces back and forward like some caged and slightly mad Siberian Tiger which had been holed up in a 6ft by 10 cage in a Kazakhstani Zoo for 25 years or so, adding to the underlying tension of the performance.
In my opinion, the current batch of songs are the strongest UFK set I have heard so far and the newer songs are every bit as good as anything they have produced in the past. It’s not just the excellent songs, but the cue cards and banter as well as the spirited performance that makes the whole UFK experience a pleasant one.
So remember next time you feel like punching that annoying fucker next to you in the queue...Its only People...bless em ;o)
Review by Gods little helper “Reavsey” peace be with you…