Pink Fairies The Cluny Newcastle 26th April 2015

Pink Fairies The Cluny Newcastle 26th April 2015
pinkfairiesbadgeThe Pink Fairies were the ultimate late ’60s and early ’70s anarcho, underground, left-wing hippy revolutionaries. Alongside the Edgar Broughton Band and Hawkwind they forged an uncompromising anti-establishment path and made some beautiful noisy rock’n’roll which paved the way for punk, new wave and (maybe) grunge. I was a big fan in the ’70s and was lucky enough to see them live on a number of occasions. My favourite songs were “When’s the Fun Begin?” and their version of “Walk Don’t Run” which twisted the surf guitar of the Ventures through 180 degrees to produce a freak-out psych classic. Well the Pink Fairies are back. Or at least some of them are. The 2015 line-up consists of original Fairies Russell Hunter (drums) and Duncan Sanderson (bass) along with Andy Colquhoun (who fronted an ’80s incarnation of the band) on guitar, Jacki Windmill on wild red hair and crazy vocals and second drummer George Butler. There may be no Twink, no Paul Rudolph, no Larry Wallis; but the new Fairies maintain the spirit of the original band and, as I witnessed last week, remain true to the loud noisy musical ethos, complete with extended psych freak-out guitar solos courtesy of Andy and loud drums courtesy of Russell and George.
So 100 or so old-timers and a few modern hippy hipsters congregated in the Cluny on a Sunday to see what joyful noise the Pink Fairies 2015 could produce, and whether they could still corrupt our youth and try to overthrow our government. Laura accompanied me to this fun event. We were not disappointed. This wasn’t musical perfection by any means (and it wouldn’t be the Fairies if it was) but it was great raw, loud, rock’n’roll with rambling psych guitar straight from early ’70s Ladbroke Grove courtesy of the West Coast of the USA. I recognised most of the songs ;although I wasn’t sure what the opener was. The second song was “Do It” which was the B side of their (non) hit single “The Snake. This was followed by “War Girl” with manic vocals by Jacki. Then Russell took the mike and came forward to the front of the stage while the rambling discords of “When’s the Fun Begin” built to a crescendo. Wonderful. The Fairies then took us to the Larry Wallis era for the punky “Police Car”, followed by “Waiting for the Ice Cream to Melt”. Then it was right back to the start and the Velvet’s “Waiting for the Man”; a song the Fairies have been covering since their early days, followed by another old Fairies favourite; their cover of the Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows” which was a pretty extreme discordant cacophony; by now Laura was confused. Then followed a couple of new songs; “Naked Radio” and “Skeleton Army”. The last number was Pink Fairies classic “Uncle Harry’s Last Freak Out”; Duncan told us the story of the drug bust in Ladbroke Grove which led to the song. “Last Freakout” descended into a lengthy jam, as it always used to. And then they were gone. We lingered a little hoping for an encore (I wanted to see them play “Walk Don’t Run”) but left after it began to look like they weren’t coming back. The ’70s underground lives on. Peace man.

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