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Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, Dingwalls, London, February 3rd 2010

February 4, 2010

Yes, they are as weird and wonderful as their name suggests. Despite some proggish tendencies, Gandalf Murphy are enormous fun… and we could all do with some of that. The band hails from Sleepy Hollow, NY, and consist of the permanently be-hatted Joziah Longo, his wife Tink, their son Orien on bass, Sharkey on guitar and Tony on drums. Fun Fact: the bass player with Joziah’s previous band, The Ancestors, is currently with Public Enemy.

Their unusual tendencies are typified by the range of items available in their online store, which include their own brand of chocolate as well as some exclusive Slambovian coffee. Mmmm….

I first saw them at the Rhythm Festival last year and was charmed by their folky, rocky, psychy, poppy mixture. They’ll try their hand at anything, as they proved in front of an appreciative (and well-lubricated) Dingwalls crowd.

First up was Sunday In The Rain, from 2004’s Floyd-influenced album Flapjacks From The Sky, followed by Pushin’ Up Daisies, from 2007’s fine album The Great Unravel. Then Tink unveiled her splendid theremin and made suitably UFOish noises during audience favourite Flapjacks From The Sky. The first of two long sets finished with the mighty driving rock of Trans-Slambovian Bi-Polar Express, which has to be one of my favourite song titles.

The second half veered gloriously all over the musical landscape, with added banjo, harmonica, some Slambovian yodelling, more theremin, a Dylan cover, a Beatles song and even a traditional Slambovian Christmas carol.

My gig buddy The Suit was very excited when I told him about the iPhone theremin app. I suspect he downloaded it right after the show…. this is what technology was made for, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The iPhone theremin app

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