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James Chance And The Contortions , Play The Tunnels

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  • 4 months later...

"Tired, predictable, dated Dad-rock about half as 'quirky' as I'm sure it once seemed" - Who's yir Daddy like, Captain Beefheart?

James Chance was in Bagdad before you were in your dad's bags so I don't know what you were expecting. You wouldn't go and see Led Zepplin expecting them to have the passion and energy they had in their 20's.

He is getting on a bit and time does catch up with us all but his band were super bad, which is good, and he put on twice the show the "kids" did through in the other tunnel.

I have a couple of Contortions records and I doubt I could listen to one all the way through without getting bored but that's a common complaint of any band in that genre from me. I had to leave early due to work the next day and it was probably the right time for me to go - I left wanting a little more, if I'd stayed for another couple of songs i'd probably have seen too much and been jaded like yourself.

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This is proper old fashioned funk. James is a real showman who combines Fela Kuti's charm, Mark E Smith's jowel and a healthy dose of free jazz. At his most entertaining contorting with his wife he is an excellent dancer. Like Lee Perry he directs his band with a flick of his finger. The Contortions are very cool and purvey their angular brand of soul to the willing audience. Chance may not have film star looks, but he's up there with kings like James Caan and Albert Ayler.

- in other words I liked it....

Did anyone else spot the Black Sabbathism's during the set? Or was it just freetibet and myself?


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I wasn't expecting anything, having just stumbled across the gig by chance, and having never heard of him before. From what a few folk said before he played, I was led to believe I was in for some sort of treat. However, it turned out to be bored-ass, teenage basic-as-it-gets funk backing track / zappa tribute underneath a Donal Trump lookalike giving 'wacky' sax and cack-face strained vocals. I thought his wife was some nut off the street with a gin problem due to the way she kept girating through the crowd, grabbing and talking to people. However, it turned out that she was with the band, which made everything ok, cuz she's like, totally liberal 'n shit..probably smoked pot 'n shit..

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