Having Seen Paul-Ronney Angel playing solo on Friday night we decided to go to this free show The Urban Voodoo Machine were playing as part of London Bridge City's Summer By the River series sponsored by Heart FM. This is also an all-ages show which for a band as steeped in the seamy side of life as much as they are is always going to make life interesting.
Having got out drinks, we walked into The Scoop, which is a nice outdoor music/performance space next to City hall. J Roni Moe allowed us through the backstage area so we said hi to the band before they went on just after 7pm to a very mixed crowd of long term fans and tourists and casual passers by and families who had stayed on from the previous event, Raver Tots!
As ever they opened with Theme From Urban Voodoo Machine with the band walking slowly in front of the stage looking round at the reaction of the tourists. It was great and then as Luci Fire introduced them and whacked her cymbal to get them going into the theme proper everyone seemed happy.
High Jeopardy Thing seemed to have a slightly different meaning when the crowd is full of kids but from the first time Luci Fire attacked her bass sax they had won everyone over and looking around at the gobsmacked tourists they were already winning friends and almost no one was leaving as the crowd was already busy.
Paul-Ronney Angel was on his best behavior while introducing the songs. Explaining what Cheers for the Tears was about was cool, as the thought of singing about how rumours start that you fell drunk into a canal and died last night to as mixed an audience as this thankfully didn't faze anyone and the great pathos in the lyrics worked well and it went down a storm.
Having explained that Fallen Brothers was about two dearly departed band members they played a spot on version of this wonderful tribute to Nick Marsh and Rob Skipper that I'm sure made an impression on many of the audience who hadn't heard this song before. The force of the music and the passion in the vocals transcends the lyric's sadness and kept everyone smiling and waving along.
For Trainwreck Blues, Jary came round to the front of the stage to play a resonator box and leave J Roni Moe to play the drums alone while Slim switched from Piano to Accordion as they really worked the audience and got everyone joining in and having a blast. I think it was at the end of this song that one kid watching from the top of The Scoop had to be practically dragged away by his parents who had to go somewhere else he looked like he was going to throw a fit at being made to leave. The boy's got taste.
Not With You started with a wicked violin solo before it really got going and also got the audience going with them. Then Slim stepped forward to introduce and start the Orphan's Lament, one of the tunes that has lyrics to really make the tourists in the crowd have a good think. But it sounded great and the band's onstage antics kept everyone happy anyway. It also contained the one swear word they used all evening and got away with easily.
Paul-Ronney gave as polite an intro to Crazy Maria as possible considering it's about a friend who died of an Overdose (or was she given the hot shot?). Anyway, the tango aspect of the music had one couple up dancing in very cool fashion.
Always Out was introduced as being the lead track on the band's Best of LP, 15 Shots From the Urban Voodoo Machine, and was played as they sort of rave up to get you going out all the time. I'm sure most of the audience had no idea what Rusty Water & Coffin Nails are slang for but it didn't matter as the song sounded so joyous and by this point they had easily won everyone over.
For Rather You Shot Me Down, Jary played Acoustic Guitar and Paul-Ronney played Mandolin. It was nice and sad and the slowest song in the set. They then got as political as they ever do on While We Were All Asleep, which has a good go at what goes on in City Hall and in the corporate offices that surround The Scoop. As they song really got going, it stopped two or three times for various breakdowns and to get the tension building and every time they started up again they were playing faster. It was truly great.
They altered the lyrics to Love Song 666 to make them more acceptable for the venue they were in but the song lost none of its normal impact as it was clear what it was all about. It also had Jary and J Roni Moe chasing each other around the drum kit to make everyone smile.
They then closed with Goodbye To Another Year,played rave up style with a long breakdown during which they did band intro's and everyone got a solo spot that included some Spanish guitar from Tony Diablo. The Rev Gavin Smith playing his double bass over his shoulder as well as Luci fire doing a highland fling and a chorus of We'll take the high road - it was a great way to close a great set.
Of course they got an encore, for which they bravely chose to play Heroin Put My Brothers In The Ground, the band's salutary tale and warning not to mess with Heroin. It was played faster than usual and managed to fit some of When the Saints Go Marching in and a few other classics as they closed out the show in style.
After the gig the band happily posed for photos with lots of the new fans and the kids lined up for photos with J Roni Moe in all his Zombie make before Paul-Ronney Angel did a DJ set to keep everyone happy. A great night out.