With the distinctive vocals and songwriting skills of Bryan Ferry, the sonic squiggles of ambient music pioneer Brian Eno, rock guitar, jazz and classical saxophone playing and a solid rhythm section, Roxy Music were always going to be a band that stood out from the crowd.
Since forming in 1970, Roxy Music have had an incredibly successful career, forging the path from their glam and art rock beginnings to mainstream notice with Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno both going onto become household names. Their eight studio albums have all been both critical and commercial successes.
A near capacity audience and a talented band meant that this concert, in celebration of one of the most important musical legacies in recent times was a definite highlight in Lichfield Arts Autumn 2018 season.
The band of lead singer Kevin Hackett, guitarist Richard Price, saxophonist Robbie Tabrett, Richard Northwood on keyboards and backing vocals, bassist and backing vocalist Mark Schlotel and drummer Simon Atkins played the full range of Roxy Music’s sound, ranging from glam rock, to jazz, pure pop and guitar led rock.
Starting with What Goes On By Lou Reed, most of the set was by Roxy Music, but some choice covers and two singles from Bryan Ferry’s solo career also featured as well.
More Than This, If There is Something and the theremin-drenched Editions of You were highlights of the first half, while the second half featured most of the songs that Roxy Music are best known for, and got some of the capacity audience on their feet.
Street Life was a solid opener, with an introduction of musical invention on both piano and saxophone. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, by Jerome Kern, showed the group’s way around a jazz ballad, before the slower hits Dance Away and Avalon showed just how sophisticated a group Roxy Music could be.
Their biggest hits finished the set, with Do The Strand, Virginia Plain, Love is the Drug and Let’s Stick Together bringing the audience to their feet.
The encore featured a fine interpretation of The In-Crowd, and the audience joined in for Roxy Magic’s version of Bryan Ferry’s interpretation of John Lennon’s Jealous Guy, complete with the whistling.
Although when thinking of rock gigs the Guildhall may not seem like the most obvious of venues, the multi-generational audience and the sound quality of the band all added to a great night of entertainment.