A tiggerish, sweatband wearing Stewart Copeland bounced onto the Scala stage arms aloft and fists pumping the air, as though he had just won the fifth and deciding set in a pro-celebrity game of tennis.
As befits a supergroup of veterans: Stewart Copeland (The Police), Mark King (Level 42), Adrian Bellew (King Crimson, Talking Heads) and Vittorio Cosma (PFM) to hear the varied languages and accents creating the atmosphere inside this former cinema, this rare show has a packed audience attending from far and wide.
A glorious cacophony of carefully constructed creative sound filled this boxy, galleried hall as “Zombies In The Mall” blasted out from the pristine, crystal clear sound mix. “Man In the Mountain” continued this focus of top-drawer musicianship as all players traded their skills in a finely honed performance.
It’s a revelation to witness Adrian Bellew create his primal guitar sound effects up close and personal. His voice is as smooth and recognisably rich as ever. Smiling his way through song after song he thanked the audience for knowing all the lyrics to the band’s tunes.
Lord of the lower end frequency, Mark King’s babbling bass pops and bangs fitted beautifully into the group’s oeuvre. Essentially an art rock conglomeration, he brought a jazz-rock feel to the Gizmodrome sound with his inimitable funk technique popping through to fine but not overpowering effect.
With Copeland regularly switching from his Tama drums to electric guitar and vocals the stagecraft and fun banter, especially with Bellew, revealed a band of players at ease with each other. Their combined abilities to make the complicated look simple yet sound satisfyingly complex was audiophile heaven.
However, the tour de force interplay on King Crimson covers “Elephant Talk” and “Thela Hun Ginjeet” with Copeland’s snap of snare combining with King’s rangy turbo driven bass lines, underpinned Bellew’s superb sonic sculptures of sound.
An over appreciative audience revelled in the progressive jazz-rock being delivered as these four musical masters painted a Sistine Chapel of sound tonight at The Scala.
As Charles Mingus said: “Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple”
Words: Paul Davies / Photos: Eric Duvet
Event Date: 07-Mar-2018