SLY & THE FAMILY DRONE The Butler, Reading 3rd March 2013
Madam describes James Mathé’s artistic outlet BARBAROSSA as “pretty music”.. This is someone who on a number of occasions has proclaimed “I hate music.. Especially when it’s played..” Indeed for her it’s Motown & only then when she is fabulously drunk. She also likes BARBAROSSA “because of his porcelain teeth..” (No.. Me neither..)
However, “pretty music” isn’t so far off the mark. Tonight, BARBAROSSA are a three piece.. Mathé with his moat of old casio keyboards (being honest there is nothing that makes me re-enact the moth to the light bulb scenario, than the sight of an Omnichord..), a drummer who on occasion couldn’t play much quieter if he had used ostrich feathers for brushes, & a guitarist/bassist that although we are all inside is decked out for the English summer in a large coat & bobble hat.
BARBAROSSA remind me in part of EYELESS IN GAZA in quieter moments. Not that Mathé sounds like Martyn Bates, the pain in the voice isn’t there, although Mathé has top trumps when it comes to to gurning. It is just in the phrasing, the omnichord creates sounds similar to Bates’ vocal gymnastics.
Everything is precise & crumbling the anti septic beauty & very… Pretty. They do two things that under normal circumstances would get me screaming, running from the room.. That is (1) Cover a Terrence Trent D’Arby song.. I know the chap is a American but the Trent is nowhere near Derby he should have called himself Terrence Trent Nottingham.. (2) A song that has a definite ecclesiastical bent.. Most forms of sky pilotry get me contemplating my navel or shoes in double quick time… I forgive them. Hey they have an OMNICHORD!!!!!
They play for just about the right amount of time (about 25 minutes..) Any longer & I suspect that I would have needed a seat, a cup of tea & a garibaldi.. I suggest you buy Mr Mathé’s music, it really is quiet nice to sit down to with a nice cup of tea & a garibaldi when you are at home…..