The Mean Fiddler, London, UK
Review by John Morgan-Evans
I've been to a few shows recently, and maybe it's just me but I feel that age is catching up with me. You're always told that you 'grow out' of rock and roll and excepting some Frank Black shows in 2003 there hasn't been much to really light my fire recently. So, making my way to 'Mean Fiddler' (that's the Astoria 2 to you and me) on 17/3 I was expecting John Cale to produce a solid but not particularly inspiring 'best of' show along the lines of his Festival Hall appearance in 2005.
How wrong I was. Cale and band kick of with a bizarre version of Heartbreak Hotel featuring vocoders and sinister 'diddy wah diddy' choruses that is so far removed from Elvis's, Cale's recorded versions or anyone else's that it sounds like a message from another planet. Cale has had his cut spikey with a DA and someone has dyed or sprayed it orange. He wears a white shirt and black tie and looks fit, swapping between keyboards and guitar. Backed by a superbly tight trio, put simply, Cale is on fire. Over the next two hours he produces the goods big style. Old songs are re-worked and appear fresh and a couple of new peices are slid in to show he is still creating at a peak.
At then end of the show I decide that I'm not getting old, it's just that the good stuff really needs to be hunted down these days. The purchase of the Mozart boxed set can be safely postponed for some years yet.