Thursday, 15 March 2012

Kast-off Kinks Live February 2012

Went to see the Kast-off Kinks last week, with some reservations. I’d tried to watch a few YouTube clips but most of them sounded like a giant singalong, with the audience attempting to drown out the band. As a very recent Kinks fan, I had never been to see them live and didn’t know whether I could bear to hear someone else sing in place of Ray or Dave, who have such unique voices. I was ready to be disappointed but I had to go because they were playing a little club just a couple of miles down the road. (Thanks to Pete Feenstra for booking them and the magnificent Colin Blunstone at the Beaverwood, our great local venue.)

As we waited for one of our party to arrive, my sister spotted Mick Avory standing by the T-shirt stand and was brave enough to ask for a photo and engage him in conversation. What a nice guy and he really doesn’t look that much different to when he was in the band. Great to hear that infamous, deadpan South London voice. So down to earth. Saw Jim Rodford in the interval. I did what I normally do when I encounter anyone semi-famous, acted like I hadn’t seen either of them. Unfortunately, in ordering my drinks, I was blocking Jim from his, so sister chatted to him meanwhile. Friendly guy.

I expected them to play all the obvious 60s and 70s hits (and they did) and a few of the more popular songs from the Kinks live repertoire. I was resigned to not hearing ‘Village Green Preservation Society’, for instance. I was wrong and very pleasantly surprised that they played this, ‘Muswell Hillbillies’ and ‘Better Things’. It was great to hear a live band play those songs and brilliant that someone who will probably never get to see the Kinks live, will still get to see a band play the songs, complete with amusing stories from their various experiences of playing with the Kinks, combined with their obvious appreciation and respect for the material. And yes, Dave Clark doesn’t play the guitar like Dave or sound like Ray but he has his own take on things and it’s pretty good. Plus they vary it by sharing out the lead vocals between Dave, Jim and Ian Gibbons – even Mick comes to the front to sing ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion’ – he can carry a tune and performs it well and with humour.

Of course, we did see Dave play with a band last year, which was incredibly special, incomparable, but at that time, we’d been Kinks fans for less than two months so, although devoted, we still had 30+ years of material to catch up with; now we’re much more familiar with all the songs. And the songs are something else.

Of course there were die-hard Kinks fans there and then the people we were with who couldn’t name a single Kinks song when pushed, who’d never been to see live music before, one of whom informed me that the singer had played with the Beach Brothers. Yes. That’d be after he left the Isley Boys then. Bless. They loved it too.

Stole the setlist after (as I did for Colin Blunstone the previous week) – they'd planned to play ‘Death of a Clown’ but didn’t. Would have liked to have heard some Dave songs – ‘Strangers’ or ‘Love Me Till the Sun Shines’. Or some of the 80s numbers: ‘Yo Yo’ or ‘Art Lover’. And why no ‘I’m Not Like Everybody Else’? Nevertheless, the whole thing was tremendous fun. The singalong bits were nicely managed by Jim and not overwhelming. And did we dance! I'd still give anything to see Ray and Dave play together but really refreshing to see a few ex-Kinks get on with it, without punch-ups or egos to distract them. Highly recommended.

For more info on the Kast-offs, where to catch them live, etc., see


  1. Mick Avory has always struck me as sanity personified, no?

    1. Away for a while now. Be in touch when I get back. Have a Happy Easter!

  2. Yup. He is. So normal. Hard to imagine why Dave took against him so. Will write later as am away for a while.

  3. If it's another Fatsang event, golly, Miss Sshh---quite frankly, I think *I'd* RATHER go to Hell! Please do have fun, wherever 'tis you're headed on this Blessed Easter Weekend. In re D.D. vs. M.A.: Seems the former, by his own admissions, had some personality issue with *everyone* who played w/the band over the decades, unrelated to the making of music, per se; whatever. I like that M. Avory plays jazz, frequently smiles like he means it, and doesn't tint his head hairs. As one of my darling, dear, guy friends wryly observed, recently, "At some point, an older man who colours his hair just looks like an old guy with dark hair."
    Much Love, -----<<<*MTM*>>>-----

  4. I would never have guessed that English wasn’t your first language.

    Re: Germans – at least Ray can rely on them to clap when he asks although he does take advantage and their palms must be blistered by the end of a concert.

    Just got back from the Jackie Leven weekend in some woodland. Well we were in cabins. We watched DVDs, other singer-songwriters played, exchanged stories, went on long walks and so on. Dave’s is next weekend. I know you doubt him but he is a sweetheart now. MA seems very level-headed and it must have taken a lot to rile him.