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Review: 'Art Terry in Sex Madness and Lunatraktors'
'Live at Paper Dress Vintage in Hackney'   

-  Genre: 'Soul' -  Release Date: '22.1.20.'

Our Rating:
This show is the album launch show for Art Terry's Sex Madness album that had its official release last November. The show is also a pre-relaunch for Paper Dress Vintage as this is the first gig to take place since the new PA and Lighting have been installed and the place smells of the fresh coat of paint it's had, to the chagrin of many photographers they have painted the stage area red which looks cool but will make some pro snappers somewhat unhappy, still the lighting looks cool and the PA sounded damn good all night long.

First on were Lunatraktors who are a Duo from Margate via Prague and a few other places besides who play Broken Folk which both on the bands excellent This Is Broken Folk album and live means they are mainly Carli Jefferson on a non-conventional drum and percussion kit and Clair Le Couteur on vocals and occasional Melodica or Pump Organ.

They both warm up on-stage doing a series of stretches and then after Art Terry had asked everyone to be quiet and listen to them they opened there set with an astonishing song 900 Miles, just watching how Carli plays her drums and percussion and hearing how Clair sings in their deep sonorous voice was more than enough to guarantee the entire audience maintained a pin-drop silence throughout the bands set apart of course for some raucous cheering and clapping between songs.

Jim Jones was the second song and this old folk tale worked brilliantly with the percussion punctuating this sad tale and Carli's playing reminded me of three different drummers Graham Dowdall when he used to play for Nico, Chris Cutler in his solo sets rather than his work with Pere Ubu and Mani Neumeier from Guru Guru in her fluidity and inventiveness she is an amazing musician to watch play I think most of the audience was swiftly transfixed by her playing let alone the incredible vocals that accompanied her.

For Turn Of The Plough Carli Joined Clair in singing it as a duet pretty much acapella apart from the hand claps and body claps, it was really effective and they both threw in the odd aside the helped to keep smiles on the faces of a rapt audience.

For 16000 Miles the story of a poor man transported to Australia Clair played the Pump Organ while they sang, that only added to how much parts of Carli's playing reminded me of Graham Dowdall, although the song doesn't sound much like Nico it did make me think a bit of My Heart Is Empty, but it was much more of a tangential link rather than a direct one.

For Black Raven Carli draped a tablecloth over her head which did nothing to affect her astonishing playing as they tried to get the Black Raven to stop having around them like some portent of doom.

The tablecloth became a shawl draped over Carli's head for the vocal duet of My Witch, that was a good stirring duet that just sounded great.

They then did a rather intoxicating cover of Leonard Cohen's Lover Lover Lover that worked brilliantly with the sparse percussion and Clair's deep sonorous vocals. They closed the set with their re-working of the old standard Maggie May replete with some very funny asides from Carli and by the end of it they had won over just about everyone in the audience judging by the huge cheer they got as it ended.

Art got up onstage to ask them if they would play an encore and if Carli would dance for us, so after she had changed into her tap boots and cleared enough space onstage she tap danced the tune for The Catalpa while Clair sang this wonderful tune it was totally magical and the performance easily got the biggest cheer of the night and only left us all wanting to see them live again.

After the sort break the first two members of Art Terry's Sex Madness Orchestra slowly walked onstage wearing choir robes and started to play the Theme From Sex Madness and as the song slowly progressed they were joined By Art Terry on Keyboards and the rest of the Orchestra of 8 players total that included Drums, Bass guitar, Trombone, Flute, Clarinet and 2 backing singers it was deeply funky gospel soul but not quite.

We then got a long very gospel version of Can't Get No Pussy that had some great trombone in it as well as the choral refrain of Can't Get No Pussy and all the ways Art wasn't getting any. This being the album launch they did play the album in order so they were soon enough playing Ask Her and damn that has some questions in it as the life of the louche pianist unfolded with nice swaying clarinet and flute making it fell a bit Gil Scott Heron.

I think Art was ready to bow down and worship Madame Baby if she'd let him as more of the audience were loosening up and starting to dance at this point as it was very difficult to stand still to this bands artily libidinous gospel soul stew.

Art then asked us all if Casual Sex was fair? He even asked for a show of hands before they played Casual Sex and I'd say 80% of the audience raised there hands to say yes it was generally fair, although if they took another vote after the song and all it's scenarios that figure may have dropped a little as they explored hook-up culture and some if it's up and down sides.

That then inevitably led us too Pimp and its repeated question of is it so much to ask to feel good, well you'd need to shake your caboose to really find out and not sure pimping is the way to go.

They then finished with the full on madness of Sex Magic and Sex Madness two songs that sort of blend into each other as we try to work out just how freaky they all are complete with some band intros and the worry that this great band kind of fall into several alt Soul cracks and hoping they can find the right audience as they really are very entertaining.
  author: simonovitch

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