Thursday, May 04, 2006

Neil Innes at Komedia

I was brought up on the surreal humour of Monty Python, The Goon Show, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and other such eccentric legends, and often bemoan the fact that there is little comparable comedy around today. I particularly love the type of comedy that involves music, or perhaps even more so, music with a comic element. Nothing beats a good old fashioned musical parody and who can do that better than Neil Innes; Bonzo member, unofficial “7th Python” (he penned the tunes for such classic ditties as “Brave Sir Robin” from Holy Grail) and co-creator of the genius Beatles spoof “The Rutles”? So when we learned he was touring again, we quickly snapped up tickets to his Brighton date at the Komedia, which also happens to be one of my favourite and most frequented local venues.

It was a real treat to see the man in action, albeit looking slightly lost without the repartee from his Bonzo bandmates. In their place he had two extremely talented and appropriately eccentric looking musicians, but their attempts to join in “the madness” seemed somehow contrived. Neil regaled us with anecdotes of the Bonzo years, touring with the Pythons, and generally ranted about life today in a charmingly tongue-in-cheek manner. He started off playing what he called a “medley of hit”, which was a quick version of Urban Spaceman (we got the full version as a reprise later). The rest of the set was mostly new material, which ranged from bonkers audience participation songs such as 'Charlie Big Potatoes' to a moving bluesy ballad about dealing with the death of friends. I laughed and I cried - always the sign of a good night out in my book.

It seems crazy that such a musi-comic genius is now unsigned (his latest album, Works in Progress is self-published) - OK it's not the Bonzos, but it has much merit of its own and certainly deserves a listen. Personally I would be in favour of Innes getting his own radio show - perhaps on Radio 2, as he himself dryly suggested he now belonged. He's got the gift of natural banter, and would certainly be an improvement on some of their current appalling DJs (Lulu ”I haven't had any” what-no-surname?, for example). Come on, let's start lobbying the BBC...

1 comment:

  1. The Independent newspaper published this review, in a slightly edited format, on 11th May 2006.


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