Presented by Max Savage and the False Idols
Reviewed 20 February 2016
After a sell-out show in August, Max Savage has decided to reprise his presentation of Van Morrison’s seminal album Astral Weeks.
Opening for the show this time was Nick Bastiras, who stood alone with a guitar, and delivered us the whole of Leonard Cohen’s Songs of Love and Hate. No mean feat, Bastiras at first was battling the usual inconsiderate chatters, until one jacked-off patron shouted at them to shut-up. After that, you could hear a pin drop, except when the audience quietly sang along to Famous Blue Raincoat. As Bastiras himself said, it was thirty hours of work for a half-hour performance. He is a musician to watch.
Savage’s line-up this time differed slightly from last August, with Jason McMahon replacing Adam Page on sax (and umpteen other wind instruments!) and superb, young, double-bass player, Dylan Kirchner, joining the fun.
From the opening, eponymous, number, the audience was with them, feeling every note. Savage’s attacking style of guitar and gutsy voice, lend a different tone to Morrison’s mystical lyrics: some numbers even finding a depth which is lacking on the original recording. Cypress Avenue was given a rocking treatment that lifted to a new level. Final number, Slim, Slow Slider, finished the cycle in exquisite style.
Encores consisted of Listen to the Lion, Into the Mystic and then a rousing rendition of Domino, leaving the punters completely sated.
Choice of venue was not perfect, as a mostly-over-forties audience isn’t too keen on standing all night. However, once the guys got into the music, most of us were up and bopping anyway.
Sadly, this was only a one-nighter, but keep your eyes peeled for anything Max Savage or any of these great musicians do.
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Rating (out of 5): 4.5