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JOHN OTWAY/Murray Torkildson
Stripes Bar, Brentford 1 October 2004

I was looking forward to witnessing an Otway gig and expectation was built further by fans who kept raving about the man and his music/show. But first we had Otway and the Sweeney's guitarist Murray Torkildson, who played a blistering and heartfelt set of r'n'b meets punk numbers. He poured so much into each song as well as deftly dealing with a good natured heackler! Well worth catching live if he plays near you.

John Otway is a genius - simple as that. Why? Well he has the almost unique act of mixing comedy with music - his take on Bob Dyaln doing the disco classic 'I Will Survive' is pure genius and very funny. Plus Otway has been on 'Top of the Pops' and had two UK hit singles, admittedly 25 years between each one, and he played them in chronological order tonight!

That meant 'Really Free' was up first and he played the b-side 'Beware The Flowers' which came 7th in a BBC poll for lyrics of the past 1,000 years. But wait, it got better as he whipped out a hinged guitar and did the Sweet's 'Blockbuster' but in a style you'd not recognize and just showing how funny the lyrics really are. Then we had 'Body Talk' where Otway was wired up to a series of drum pads - Mick Fleetwood uses one but in quite the same way...

I seriously urge anyone to go see Otway as his show is hard to put into words. He has musical talent that's for sure but never takes himself or the music business too seriously. His new hit 'Bunsun Burner' (done to the disco hit 'Disco Inferno') had Murray back for guitar/backing vocals and Otway used a therimum - that weird sounding instrument so beloved by the Beachboys on 'Good Vibrations'. The set highlight had to be the closing number BTO's 'You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet' where Otway rolled over the stage and dived off a step laddder - yes you read that right, a step ladder.

Genius - 'nuff said.

Review: Jason Ritchie

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