Daevid Allen's University of Errors - "…Plays The Soft Machine"
(Voiceprint 2008, UNGONGDVD001, NTSC format DVD)
From Aural Innovations #40 (September 2008)
So this DVD is Daevid Allen's band "University of Errors" playing Soft Machine songs, which Daevid was an original member of in 1966. THAT'S HOW MUCH I NEED YOU NOW: Daevid Allen is looking spry and energetic for almost 70, along with a very sharp band of younguns playing these Soft Machine songs note for note. Daevid adds some beautiful "slide" guitar. SAVE YOURSELF: Oh, I recognize this one from my old tape of the first Soft Machine with Robert Wyatt doing the vocals but Daevid Allen also does a great job with all these vocals!!! Nice band, appreciative audience!! HOPE FOR HAPPINESS: The film quality is very nice, (thanks Voiceprint). Daevid is using some long metal(?) rod for some impressive slide work that intro's this song. It's reall cool how some oldsters just become more and more relevant as time goes by, (Daevid Allen, Nik Turner, Dave Brock etc.) I guess it depends on if you actually have something to say to begin with!? Hey, they're really rocking this one out! Pretty impressive, another one of the tunes I'm familiar with, it's the first song on the first Soft Machine album. SHE'S GONE: A bit of animation to intro this one! This guitar player, (Prof Posh Bollox) is tearing it up!!! WHEN I DON'T WANT YOU: Slow loungey tune, don't recognize this one!
You can tell these guys really worked on perfecting these songs before they played this show. Yes, very nice! I saw Daevid Allen play once at Strange Daze 2000? I don't know if it was this band? I have a murky memory of it, probably because I'd been in a van the previous week with ST 37!? YOU DON'T REMEMBER: Scat vocal, jazzy number, written by Robert Wyatt and Daevid Allen. For a four piece band, (and occasional theremin) these guys really kick out a wall of Jazz Sound! Then there's a short interlude where Daevid brings a guy onstage to show everyone his tattoo! I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN: Another classic Softs tune! It's pretty awesome to hear these old tunes with some modern technology, Daevid keeps them true to the originals!! An impressive light/film show as a backdrop! More of Daevid's slide thingy, yes it all sounds pretty badass!
SHOOTING AT THE MOON: More scat jazz Soft Machine sound. Old Daevid still has the voice and keeps the spirit of these songs true! Even the obligatory drum solo, with the guitarist adding a second drum and then switching over to megaphone! STONED INNOCENT FRANKENSTEIN: Wow, what a great song title!!! over the top number I don't recognize! Not a Soft Machine song but a Daevid Allen song. Some cool special effects on this footage. Again, this DVD is of very high artistic quality, quite the collectors item! Great gift for that freaky friend of yours! FOHAT DIGS HOLES IN SPACE: Another great title, cool space rock, now's the theremin player! Yes, veerrrrryyy nice!!! "Takes a little time to know you, but I want to know you well." Yes, this is an awesome tune and the theremin always adds to any song! These guys are really nailing it, I can't imagine the original Soft Machine playing these songs any better! An inspiration to all us old space rockers to keep tearing it up for decades to come! LOVE MAKES SWEET MUSIC: A sixties pop ditty written by Kevin Ayers! A top 40 hit that never was!? Oh, and there's my old buddy Thom The World Poet making an appearance at the end! And a good time was had by all!
For more information you can visit the Voiceprint Records web site at: http://www.voiceprint.co.uk
Reviewed by Carlton Crutcher