The Soft Boys
18th April 2001
You'll Have To Go Sideways
Sleeping With Your Devil Mask
An unexpected start to the night (apart from the sudden snowstorm outside) was finding Pete Kember AKA Sonic Boom on stage, hunched over a collection of old EMS analogue synths, OSCars, Vocoders an 8-track mixer, what looked like a Speak and Spell and a mass of patch cables.
After splitting from Spacemen 3 in 1990 he formed EAR (Experimental Audio Resarch) in 1993 who are a collective of occasional musicians producing diverse forays into ambient space music and tonight was just that, with Sonic manning the controls on his own.
The audience, a mixture of 'forty something' original Soft Boys fans and a collection of much younger people had looks of utter confusion on many of their faces as Sonic cranked up the synth to produce a floating and bubbling wall of noise.
"Er...We're The Soft Boys from Cambridge...in England..." announced Robyn to the excited crowd.
Apart from looking older and greyer they were on absolutely top form and Kimberley Rew was grinning from ear to ear, obviously immensely enjoying plundering the vaults of early Soft Boys songs.
Robyn took a little longer to get into the swing of things but was soon back to his manic and witty self and the band proceeded to treat us to many time honoured classics from A Can Of Bees, Underwater Moonlight and Invisible hits.
Among the songs played were:
Human Music, Old Pervert, Underwater Moonlight, Astronomy Domine, I Wanna Destroy You, Rock 'n' Roll Toilet, Only The Stones Remain, Kingdom Of Love, Insanely Jealous and The Face Of Death and these were all delivered on top form. Kimberley's distinct and crazed guitar style, backed up by Morris Windsor's excellent drumming and backing vocals, topped off with Robyns eccentric vocals were as good tonight as they were in 1978.
Robyn opened Old Pervert by explaining that had he not left Cambridge, he would have gone the way of the character in the song and also dedicated The Face Of Death to an old Cambridge eccentric who used to walk the streets back in the 80's dressed in flowing robes.
"Has anyone seen Roger Barrett..??" was the clue from Robyn for a truly awesome cover of Pink Floyd's Astronomy Domine that allowed Kimberley Rew to totally unleash his guitar skills.
Several songs and two rapturous encores later its was sadly all over and the audience stood there reeling in shock and awe at how good this band still are...
For the train spotters amongst you, we even spotted one member of the audience with one of Robyns infamous 'cones'
Overall a VERY GOOD gig indeed, that sadly did not last long enough!!!
Reviewed by pOoTer