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TOYAH, O2 Islington Academy, London
time I saw Toyah was on 31st January 1980 at St Andrew's Hall in Norwich
when she was promoting the imminent release of her first album 'Sheep
Farming in Barnet' (a 6 song EP of the same name had been released some
five months earlier).
her 'Sheep Farming to Anthems: Classics Revisited Live' tour, it would
be interesting to see which version of the diminutive Brummie would turn
up... Toyah the singer or Toyah the actress and TV personality?
Arriving just as the third and final support act took to the stage
(thanks to heavy traffic making it's way to various firework displays in
Esher, New Malden, Wandsworth, Battersea and elsewhere on my route in to
Toyah was in
the foyer chatting to fans, posing for photos and helping sell her T
shirts and CDs... cool, calm and collected just minutes before taking to
the stage herself, every bit the consummate professional. Yet it was
obvious this was no act. She was loving the rapport with her fans, and
they were loving her back in spades.
Kicking off with 'Good Morning Universe' from the Four More From Toyah
'single' of 1981 it was obvious that she was in fine voice and good
followed was a helter-skelter journey through most of her early musical
career with several costume changes. 'War Boys, Bird in Flight' (a song
Toyah admitted had taken her over 30 years to get used to playing but
which she now loved) and the anthemic 'Thunder in the Mountains' were
well received before her first cover of the evening (and first costume
change) 'Echo Beach' from her 1987 album Desire.
The next song, 'Latex Messiah' from her 2007 album 'The Court of the
Crimson Queen' (she's married to former King Crimson guitarist Robert
Fripp, so I'm sure no one complained too loudly about that title!) will
shortly be featured in a film due for release any day now (but which
film, we were left guessing).
And then it
was back to the Anthems; 'Jungles of Jupiter' and, probably her best
known song, 'It's a Mystery', delivered with all the verve and vivacity
as when it first emerged 30 years ago and sounding just as fresh today.
Next we were
treated to a clutch of 'Sheep Farming in Barnet' songs; 'Neon Womb',
'Race Through Space', and the magnificent 'Danced' before a final return
to Anthems with 'We Are,' the glorious 'Demolition Men' and the
exuberant 'I Want to be Free'.
A brief respite off stage and calls for 'more' from the audience and
Toyah and her band were back again, starting off with the second cover
of the evening, 'These Boots Were Made for Walking' from 'The Humans' (Toyah's
other band) 2011 release 'Sugar Rush', the indispensable 'Ieya' (the
only song from 'The Blue Meaning' to make the set list, but then what
Toyah gig would now be complete without it?) and the final 'anthem' of
the night, 'Obsolete'.
Still the crowd wanted more, but sadly with a
10.00pm curfew at the venue, that's all that could be squeezed in.
While Toyah herself had whirled like a dervish on stage, and showed that
her vocal capacities were as good, if not better, than ever, praise must
also be given to Chris Wong on guitar, Tim Rose on bass, Andy Doble on
keyboards and Shan Chana on drums for being such a tight unit.
Set List: Good Morning Universe, War Boys, Bird in Flight, Thunder in
the Mountains, Echo Beach, Latex Messiah, Jungles of Jupiter, It's a
Mystery, Neon Womb, Race Through Space, Danced, We Are, Demolition Men,
I Want to be Free, Theese Boots Were Made for Walking, Ieya and Obsolete
photos by Bob Singleton
Gig review (03.11.11 - Leamington)
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