Last night I was at the Cafe OTO in Dalston to see Mike Heron and his band.
To provide a bit of context, Mike has been one of my musical heroes for roughly thirty years, since I discovered a copy of the Incredible String Band's "5000 Spirits, or the Layers of an Onion" album in a second-hand record shop and fell instantly in love with his music. While I have seen him live a number of times, it has always been in combination with others (the String Band reunions and various cameo roles at other concerts). This was the first opportunity I have ever had to see him perform a full set. And it happened in a nice, intimate venue - the audience of me, Green from Scritti Politti, and all the other old farts probably didn't quite reach 100 - with a few decent, locally brewed pints of porter.
So there is absolutely no prospect of getting an objective review from me. It was utterly fantastic and I was grinning from ear to ear from start to finish. Here are the original versions of just two of the many highlights.
"Douglas Traherne Harding" - The Incredible String Band (from "The Big Huge")
"Spirit Beautiful" - Mike Heron (from "Smiling Men With Bad Reputations")
The band comprised Mike's daughter, Georgia Seddon, on keyboards, Mike Hastings (whose day job is guitarist with the Trembling Bells), and Solveig Aakvik on fiddle. It was entertaining watching Georgia, who spent the whole set looking warily at over at Mike. That must be one of the problems of working with your Dad - no matter who they are or how good they are at what they do, they are only ever a matter of seconds away from doing something really embarrassing (Old Pa Goggins excepted of course).
Georgia did a short support set, as did Mike (Hastings) and Solveig. As well as being an excellent electric guitarist, as he showed during the Trembling Bells set on Saturday, he is pretty nifty on the acoustic as well. I think there is definitely a bit of a Bert Jansch feel to his sound. Judge for yourselves.
"Inchconnachan" - Mike & Solveig
And from way back when, here are old gang. Mike still closes his shows with this.