Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh 2 August 2010

Another concert in the Jazz and Blues Festival, and one I'd been very much looking forward to, Brian Auger being something of a hero of mine. One of the all-time great Hammond organ players, he was a keyboard star before Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman came on the scene. Famous back in the sixties for his massive glissandi where he used his whole arm on the keyboard to send huge clusters of notes roaring up and down (a technique I remember being interested to hear our school music teacher - an awesome classical organist and one cool dude despite being around sixty - using when improvising on the school's pipe organ for a concert with our house rock band of the time, a Cream lookalike trio called Evening). He became a household name when Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity had a huge hit with Dylan's This Wheel's On Fire. Here it is:



For most of the intervening years Auger has had a band called Oblivion Express, with various line-ups (he remarked that his players kept going off to join Santana or the Average White Band). Today the band comprise Brian on keyboards (his faithful Hammond B3 with a single digital keyboard on top). his daughter Savannah Grace Auger on vocals, his son Karma Auger on drums (yeah, I know, 1960s names - though I think Dweezil and Moon Unit were worse) and Nick Sample on bass. I have a live album of Auger with a different group altogether, and to judge from that and the various Youtube clips available his setlist hasn't changed all that much over the years. He's still doing songs like Season of the Witch (yes, the Donovan song) and Light My Fire which he's been doing for over forty years. The point, however, is that every night it's completely different because they're all really good improvisers. I know I could go and see them tomorrow and get a completely fresh show.

Set list:

Truth
Freedom Jazz Dance
Season of the Witch
Bumpin' On Sunset
Indian Rope Man
Light My Fire
Don't Look Away, Look Around
Whenever You're Ready
Compared To What

Encore: Save Me

This video gives a good impression of what they're like live. Brian is even wearing the same shirt he had on tonight (a weird Japanese one with an anime character on the front).



The festival person introducing the band told us that Brian first played Edinburgh in 1966. Now he's 70: doesn't seem that way. Haste ye back, Brian.

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