I have to admit I was more than a little apprehensive about watching Ray Davies, the frontman of a band largely regarded as the third greatest British band of all time. This nauseating feeling was a common theme to these type of gigs, where you would pay over the odds to see a band once hailed as part of a musical revolution masochistically tear apart their back catalogue whilst supported by zimmerframes.
It has been over 40 years since The Kinks released the anthmeic 'You Really Got me', a song known more for the infectious riff than anything else. The Kinks have lived on through the years with their undeniably influential grip on the Britpop scene.
Ray Davies himself has been busy directing movies (Return to Waterloo), writing his autobiography 'X-Ray' and getting shot by muggers in New Orleans.
Set opener "I'm not like everybody else", will be familiar to the majority of Kinks fans, sounding far more like The Who than The Kinks. The repetition of the chorus is a good band/audience ice breaker and Davies charismatic charm makes him instantly likeable.
'Till the end of the day' is an immediate crowd pleaser, and is accompanied by the B-side to the 1965 top ten hit 'Where have all the good times gone?', a song perhaps more popular than the original A-side.
Davies takes the opportunity to debut some new material, including a track written four years ago called 'The Fall' before going back to his Kinks roots with '20th Century Man', reminding us all of what century The Kinks did belong to.
Davies performed 'Oklahoma USA', written for one of his sisters, before moving onto an album that he has been told was the 'best flop album ever written'. Davies performed a medley of hits from 'The Village Green Preservation Society', sounding as ridiculous as Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' as far as album titles go. The medley included the album's title track and the fantastic 'Picture book'.
Davies returned to the material that made The Kinks a commercial success and performed 'Sunny Afternoon' and 'Dead End Street' before the interval. I don't think I'd ever been to a gig with an interval before and was half expecting them to bring round the ice-creams.
Davies performed some new material including the current EP 'Tourist' and a few tracks from the forthcoming album 'Other People's Lives'. One of the evenings most refreshing moments was a new track, where Davies took on the role of a bad comedian. It was a style of commentary criticizing comedians of the 90's, very similar in style to much of Blur's early material.
Before the gig I did wonder if this was just going to be an acoustic gig but Davies had a fully fleshed out band who were fantastic throughout and he introduced the various members during the course of the evening.
Davies saved the classics until last and ran through 'Dedicated follower of fashion' and 'Autumn Almanac'. He took a short break from the favourites to play 'I go to sleep', a song that he wrote when he was jut 19 that has been rerecorded in French and used in the Eurostar TV commercials.
'Thankyou for the days', 'Tired of Waiting for you' and 'Set me Free' all feature. It's quite amazing how many hits The Kinks did have. Davies introduces the legendary 'All day and all of the night' by explaining that they were turned down by every record company in the UK, including the Isle of Man. Apparently Ray's lyrics were nasally and Dave Davie's Electric Guitar sounded like a dog barking. All Ray had to say on that subject was "Some bark".
A fantastic encore including 'Lola', 'Waterloo Sunset' and of course 'You Really got me' capped off the evening. Davies had been surprisingly energetic for a man in his 60's and had more stage presence than the majority of cutting edge new bands around at the moment.
A fantastic set from an awesome frontman who is showing no signs of 'losing it' what-so-ever.
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article by: Scott Johnson
photos by: Clark Wainwright
| published: 01/10/2005 20:12|