Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Nov 4, 2012 15:03:45 GMT
Getting ready to rock! ## note the kids at the front getting fuelled up for the show
The Strange Doors Live Fiddler's Elbow, Camden, Friday 26th October 2012
JDM: Grant Van Funkle JD: Jason Hastie; RDM: Anselm O'Connor; RK: Andrew Hembry.
The Fiddlers Elbow in Camden was a small but friendly little venue which me and my mate Mark Fairclough managed to frequent twice during the weekend.
One of those times was the Friday night to check out the New Kids On The Block in the Doors interpretation world (cover bands as they used to be known) The Strange Doors from Milton Keynes.
Jason the drummer has been badgering me to come and see his band for over a year and it was something I was looking forward to doing even if I was a bit wobbly on my feet when I got there due to a heavy afternoon in Covent Garden and Camden.
After watching the band tune up and saying hello to everybody the band donned their disguises and took to the stage to open with a quite blistering Break On Through with all 4 members doing a damn good rendition which got things off to a lively start from a decent sized audience.
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Nov 4, 2012 15:06:52 GMT
Now before I go any further a brief history of the cover bands, Doors re-enactors whatever you like to call them, I have seen. I never got to see the Australian Doors Show but saw the UK band LA Doors quite a few times and have seen Bootleg Doors, The Lizard Kings, a couple of French band as well as Wild Child and the benchmark to judge from at the moment The Doors Alive.
LA Doors were a fun band whose lead singer never sounded Morrison like but who captured the mood well, Bootleg Doors were an excellent night out but with some very odd wigs and Lizard Kings probably my favourite with a German singer with a German accent doing Jim Morrison and capturing a bluesy Jim rather well. Wild Child were musically spot on but had a singer who when I saw him was God-awful. The fact he is now with my least favourite Doors cover band pretty much says it all. The Doors Alive with old singer Rich were also an excellent example of late stage Jim although Rich did not impress at first but the last time I saw him he was awesome. His replacement Willie did a fantastic job of an early Jim circa 66/67 but now has gravitated towards a more mature Morrison and is probably the best of what is available. They have however lost their most important asset in Jason their guitar player who for me captured Robby Krieger better than anyone including Robby himself in his sad little tribute act.
The set list which like The Doors changed a bit between tuning up and the actual gig
So lets get back to The Strange Doors. Musically these guys are pretty damn good. Their guitar player Andy, bizarre wig apart, is up there with guys like Jason from the old DA band. My TSD Scorpywag forum buddy Jason their drummer is a jazzer like John Densmore and seems to have listened to old JD a lot as he recreates the guy rather well. The keyboard/bass player Ans had a lot of really good moments as well with his Vox/Gibson piano bass combo BOT was a perfect example of what TSD do well.
The band did a competent Medly with Grant on fine form during 5-1 and a decent Soul Kitchen.
Now I am a harsh judge of Doors tribute bands as many who know me will tell you and one of the yardsticks I judge a band on is how well they do When The Music’s Over . It is also the yardstick on how I judge a bands keyboard player. Christian from DA does an excellent if not awesome WTMO. The Strange Doors had a bit of a blip for me there. Their Ray was not forceful enough for me with WTMO which should have already kicked you in the balls before the vocalist even opens his mouth. Drumming was really good and the guitar really impressed me but the keys let it down a little bit. For me the keyboard should dominate this song from the off. Not a criticism folks simply an observation.
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Nov 4, 2012 15:46:25 GMT
Let’s move on to one of the hardest parts of being a Doors Tribute band.
Now Grant The Strange Doors singer is a nice guy. In fact all the band are nice enough fellows. Grant interprets Jim Morrison from what seems to me the 1968/69 period which for Morrison had some good and bad moments and Grant reflects this with his vocals.
BOT was vocally very well done but like most Morrison re-enactor singers he sometimes struggles to copy some of the inflections Morrison used in his vocals. GrantJim did a decent job on WTMO although could not match the menace one feels when the real Jim sang it.
But then nobody ever has been able to do that although many have tried.
Jim Morrison is hard to do as it’s not just about the baritone but about the small sometimes unnoticed changes in pitch and tone he uses which I presume comes from his background as a poetical vocalist.
Grant does very well most of the time but loses it now and then but again that is not a criticism simply an observation that all tribute band Jim Morrison singers struggle with even Willie from DA who at the moment is the one all the rest seem to be measured by.
He struggles a bit with the ballads Jim does such as Crystal Ship but did a half decent Love Her Madly. Which is interesting in that Doors Jim impersonators may well find it easier singing Robby songs than Jim songs. (Nice guitar solo in LHM by the way.) Grant does a fine People Are Strange and a rather good Love Me Two Times so the guy is getting there.
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Nov 4, 2012 16:47:04 GMT
My Man Of The Match
The band were kind enough to play Who Scared You for me in the stronger 2nd part of their set which I enjoyed as it is one of my all time fave tracks since I first heard it on WSITGM in 1972. They followed it with a very competent bluesy version of LA Woman in which drums and guitar came to the fore very nicely and gets the crowd going rather well. One of the strongest parts of the gig was the latter half and one of the best moments I found was not even a proper Doors song. I really enjoyed Ghost Song/Peace Frog which all four recreated very well with an honourable mention to the bands Ray who added some nice touches.
For me the highlights of the show were mostly in that 2nd half which had a very good Changeling, the aforementioned Ghost Song, an enjoyable WSY, a nice bit of COTL and a very lively Roadhouse Blues.
Spanish Caravan was a bit patchy but was offset by a very decent Light My Fire where all Doors Trib bands get a chance to show off. And all 3 musical members were up for the task and did a damn good job and the 4th impressed me by interspersing Summertime into the middle section and later Graveyard Poem.
Most impressive though was Andy on Gibson SG guitar who did an excellent job throughout LMF. I said earlier that I thought Jason the old Doors Alive guitar player did Robby best well this lad, though not getting to the levels of Jason, did a bloody good job and for me both drunkenly on the night and a week later writing this listening to the tape was without doubt the Star Of The Show.
Not more than on the bands version of The End.
Some excellent keyboards Raywork and the drumming throughout the song was very JD which I liked and Grant did sterling work with both vocals and some nice bits of poetry which has appeared on the live versions. But the guitar work was really something to hear throughout The End.
It’s another yardstick to measure a Doors trib band and although WTMO was not as good as it could have been The End was really good.
I must admit they finished a bit flat with Love Street and Touch Me, a song I never thought that brilliant and should have done something a bit more meaty but by then according to Mark I was too drunk to hold my pint without spilling it so I doubt I was that bothered.
Well no doubt they have a very capable guitar player and a damn good drummer.
Their keyboard player does a damn good job but I would like to see him get a bit more forceful in songs like WTMO after all Ray was never shy at hogging the limelight in a band that was keyboard rather than guitar driven.
Grant does a good job vocally but needs to work on some of those parts where he loses it a bit.
So where do SD stand as far as I am concerned in the pantheon of Doors trib bands I have seen and heard? Doors Alive who were probably THE best Doors trib band until the loss of Jason their guitar player are still at the top of the pile musically and vocally.
BUT these guys certainly have something in the Doors re-enactment sector. I never think that any of these guys ever can recreate a real Doors gig as that is impossible but always enjoy this stuff for what it is. A good night out, a few beers and some good music played by some guys who are like me fans of a great band. And to be honest if these guys continue to explore the 4 segments of my favourite band then Doors Alive may well have competition next year.
I sincerely hope so as I admit I like these guys and would recommend them highly to any Doors fans who wants to have a good Doorsy night out.
##### One final thought………..I understand why Doors tributes use American accents and get into the role of the person they are re enacting but for the life of me I don’t understand why they swear as much.
I am sure Jim was no saint or prude but I don’t think he said motherfucker as often as the Trib bands seem to think.
Alex Patton. Based on my drunken recollection of the night and a cheat of listening to the tape of the gig a week later.