Soft Machine - Live Reviews 2016-2024

Do talk back
User avatar
C
Robust
Posts: 78470
Joined: 22 Jul 2003, 19:06

Re: Soft Machine - Live Review from November 2016 Show

Postby C » 24 Oct 2018, 10:00

Thanks for posting Hightea - inc video - robust stuff!

Great to see John Marshall back - what an incredible drummer

oooooooooof!




.
Rorschach wrote:You, sir, are a destroyer of planets. A BCB Galactus if you will.

User avatar
LMG
Gentleman Thug
Posts: 15697
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 15:47
Location: The Fortress Of Solitude

Re: Soft Machine - Live Review from November 2016 Show

Postby LMG » 15 Nov 2018, 23:05

Great!

I am going to see them tomorrow- cannot wait!!!!
"Nothing would count as a fulfilment in a world in which literally nothing is important but self-fulfilment."

- Charles Taylor

User avatar
Hightea
Posts: 4356
Joined: 16 Apr 2015, 02:18
Location: NY state

Re: Soft Machine - Live Review from November 2016 Show

Postby Hightea » 17 Nov 2018, 02:01

LMG wrote:Great!

I am going to see them tomorrow- cannot wait!!!!

Enjoy the show I know you will

Here is a taste


User avatar
Six String
Posts: 23044
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 20:22

Re: Soft Machine - Live Review from November 2016 Show

Postby Six String » 19 Nov 2018, 16:16

Soft Machine will be playing in town soon at a small theater. A friend is going, thinking of joining him.
Everything is broken
B. Dylan

User avatar
LMG
Gentleman Thug
Posts: 15697
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 15:47
Location: The Fortress Of Solitude

Re: Soft Machine - Live Reviews

Postby LMG » 21 Sep 2021, 20:04

Saw Soft Machine last night at the 100 Club.

Fantastic performance. Substituting for the advertised line up was necessitated by bassist Roy Babbington having wrist/hand flexibility issues - hopefully temporary. The bass player and the drummer in the band have a combined age of 161 years, so substitutions are sometimes required.

So stepping in for Babbington was a player who could not have been more Canterbury - Fred Thelonius Baker, who has played with the Soft Machine's John Etheridge and the late Elton Dean, and is perhaps best noted in Canterbury circles as the replacement for Hugh Hopper in In Cahoots, the Canterbury band formed by guitarist Phil Miller of Hatfield and the North fame.

The two hourish-long setlists featured no surprises for seasoned Softs watchers, the evening combined selections from the current incarnation's 2018 Hidden Details album with familiar blasts from the past - Kings and Queens, The Man Who Waved At Trains, Hazard Profile, and the show's starter, Penny Hitch, from the Seven album.

After that sprightly opener, the title track from Hidden Details unleased a John Etheridge guitar solo that had audience members looking at each other in astonishment. It was that good - a Mclaughlinesque burst of sheer bravado and technique. John E was the star of the evening, playing a barrage of winning solos, but also proving uncharacteristically loquacious in relating the entire history of the band to date in intervals between tunes! Plus reminiscing about the UFO club and the days when Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine were equal in popularity and fame!

Special mention of course to John Marshall, back on tubs after injury kept him off the pitch for the last London Soft Machine show. He played a blinding show, the spirit of John Bonham revived in his thunderous tubs work, and he played a long drum solo in the closing medley that had those seated (like me) on our feet. He turned 80 years old last month! Incredible.

Fred Baker fit in well, my friend and I were amazed a musician could pick up some of the Softs intricate time signatures without the luxury of having played the pieces many times. But there you go. John E joked at how Theo Travis was the band's 'newbie', having joined in 2006 following the death of Elton Dean. Theo contributed flute, sax, and keyboards, notably on the tracks from the recent album he wrote.

It was great seeing so many young people at the show, brought along or attracted no doubt by the sheer history and quality of the band. Personally I have been thinking 'This may be the last time I see this band' for fifteen years and four shows now, so speculation is pointless.

Long live Soft Machine!
"Nothing would count as a fulfilment in a world in which literally nothing is important but self-fulfilment."

- Charles Taylor

User avatar
Neil Jung
Watcher Of The Skies
Posts: 11399
Joined: 18 Jul 2003, 18:36
Location: In the deepest ocean, bottom of the sea

Re: Soft Machine - Live Reviews

Postby Neil Jung » 21 Sep 2021, 20:26

I started at the beginning of this thread, puzzled because I thought the Borderline had closed then saw posts by the late Zoomboogity before realising this goes back five years or so! I’m not exactly a fan of the Softs but you made it sound really compelling.
[indistinct chatter]

User avatar
Hightea
Posts: 4356
Joined: 16 Apr 2015, 02:18
Location: NY state

Re: Soft Machine - Live Reviews

Postby Hightea » 22 Sep 2021, 02:53

LMG wrote:Saw Soft Machine last night at the 100 Club.

Fantastic performance. Substituting for the advertised line up was necessitated by bassist Roy Babbington having wrist/hand flexibility issues - hopefully temporary. The bass player and the drummer in the band have a combined age of 161 years, so substitutions are sometimes required.

So stepping in for Babbington was a player who could not have been more Canterbury - Fred Thelonius Baker, who has played with the Soft Machine's John Etheridge and the late Elton Dean, and is perhaps best noted in Canterbury circles as the replacement for Hugh Hopper in In Cahoots, the Canterbury band formed by guitarist Phil Miller of Hatfield and the North fame.

The two hourish-long setlists featured no surprises for seasoned Softs watchers, the evening combined selections from the current incarnation's 2018 Hidden Details album with familiar blasts from the past - Kings and Queens, The Man Who Waved At Trains, Hazard Profile, and the show's starter, Penny Hitch, from the Seven album.

After that sprightly opener, the title track from Hidden Details unleased a John Etheridge guitar solo that had audience members looking at each other in astonishment. It was that good - a Mclaughlinesque burst of sheer bravado and technique. John E was the star of the evening, playing a barrage of winning solos, but also proving uncharacteristically loquacious in relating the entire history of the band to date in intervals between tunes! Plus reminiscing about the UFO club and the days when Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine were equal in popularity and fame!

Special mention of course to John Marshall, back on tubs after injury kept him off the pitch for the last London Soft Machine show. He played a blinding show, the spirit of John Bonham revived in his thunderous tubs work, and he played a long drum solo in the closing medley that had those seated (like me) on our feet. He turned 80 years old last month! Incredible.

Fred Baker fit in well, my friend and I were amazed a musician could pick up some of the Softs intricate time signatures without the luxury of having played the pieces many times. But there you go. John E joked at how Theo Travis was the band's 'newbie', having joined in 2006 following the death of Elton Dean. Theo contributed flute, sax, and keyboards, notably on the tracks from the recent album he wrote.

It was great seeing so many young people at the show, brought along or attracted no doubt by the sheer history and quality of the band. Personally I have been thinking 'This may be the last time I see this band' for fifteen years and four shows now, so speculation is pointless.

Long live Soft Machine!


another nice review. Sorry to hear about Roy loved him when I was them in 2018, hope he heals. Nice stand in I saw Baker in In Cahoots. Hope they come back to the states.

User avatar
C
Robust
Posts: 78470
Joined: 22 Jul 2003, 19:06

Re: Soft Machine - Live Reviews

Postby C » 22 Sep 2021, 12:37

LMG wrote:Saw Soft Machine last night at the 100 Club.

Fantastic performance. Substituting for the advertised line up was necessitated by bassist Roy Babbington having wrist/hand flexibility issues - hopefully temporary. The bass player and the drummer in the band have a combined age of 161 years, so substitutions are sometimes required.

So stepping in for Babbington was a player who could not have been more Canterbury - Fred Thelonius Baker, who has played with the Soft Machine's John Etheridge and the late Elton Dean, and is perhaps best noted in Canterbury circles as the replacement for Hugh Hopper in In Cahoots, the Canterbury band formed by guitarist Phil Miller of Hatfield and the North fame.

The two hourish-long setlists featured no surprises for seasoned Softs watchers, the evening combined selections from the current incarnation's 2018 Hidden Details album with familiar blasts from the past - Kings and Queens, The Man Who Waved At Trains, Hazard Profile, and the show's starter, Penny Hitch, from the Seven album.

After that sprightly opener, the title track from Hidden Details unleased a John Etheridge guitar solo that had audience members looking at each other in astonishment. It was that good - a Mclaughlinesque burst of sheer bravado and technique. John E was the star of the evening, playing a barrage of winning solos, but also proving uncharacteristically loquacious in relating the entire history of the band to date in intervals between tunes! Plus reminiscing about the UFO club and the days when Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine were equal in popularity and fame!

Special mention of course to John Marshall, back on tubs after injury kept him off the pitch for the last London Soft Machine show. He played a blinding show, the spirit of John Bonham revived in his thunderous tubs work, and he played a long drum solo in the closing medley that had those seated (like me) on our feet. He turned 80 years old last month! Incredible.

Fred Baker fit in well, my friend and I were amazed a musician could pick up some of the Softs intricate time signatures without the luxury of having played the pieces many times. But there you go. John E joked at how Theo Travis was the band's 'newbie', having joined in 2006 following the death of Elton Dean. Theo contributed flute, sax, and keyboards, notably on the tracks from the recent album he wrote.

It was great seeing so many young people at the show, brought along or attracted no doubt by the sheer history and quality of the band. Personally I have been thinking 'This may be the last time I see this band' for fifteen years and four shows now, so speculation is pointless.

Long live Soft Machine!


A robust post Chris. Thank you

It sounds like a glorious evening. I am envious

Yes, Roy's getting on a bit let's hope he can continue to play for a few more years.

My view is that he is the best bass player the Softs have ever had. Fingers crossed.

John E and John M both sound like the were on blistering form!




.
Rorschach wrote:You, sir, are a destroyer of planets. A BCB Galactus if you will.

User avatar
LMG
Gentleman Thug
Posts: 15697
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 15:47
Location: The Fortress Of Solitude

Re: Soft Machine - Live Reviews

Postby LMG » 03 Feb 2024, 15:28

Soft Machine played again last night, this time at the end of my road in a local venue, starting their current tour.

https://www.softmachine.org/touring/on-tour

With the retirement and then death of John Marshall, the current line up is John Etheridge, Theo Travis, Fred Thelonius Baker, and Marshall's replacement Asaf Sirkis.

The first set starts early at not long after 8 pm, the venue still filling up to its packed capacity. Sound is very good, the opening track is Facelift from the Third album. After an enthusiastic response, the band premier their new single, the first track recorded by any line up of the band not written by a band member.

It is a cover of a tune by Harry Beckett, British trumpeter of Barbadian origin. The single is part of a tribute project. It is pleasant enough, but things really fall into place with the b-side, performed next - a cover of (Slightly) Slightly All the Time from Third, the title amendment indicating the editing of the side-long track.

After that, we are treated to a blend of classics, tracks from the new album Other Rooms, the preceding one Hidden Details, and Soft Machine Legacy tunes. One real treat is Joy Of A Toy, a Kevin Ayers tune from the early days of the band, on the debut album and now re-recorded on the latest Other Doors.

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/soft-mac ... c19d2.html

John Etheridge is more than chatty this evening, introducing Asif Sirkis as replacement for the late John Marshall, as well as detailing recent line up changes and telling us what it is like now being the senior member of the band.

Image

One amusing aspect is that John refers to Theo Travis as his 'archivist', to whom he refers when trying to explain which album the next tune comes from. John says how daft it was to title the Softs discography numerically.

His guitar-playing is stunning, jaw-dropping as ever. All on stage are in grand form, Sirkis fitting right in. I will not say John Marshall is not missed, but the Softs are definitely in good hands now.

Image

There were two sets, totalling about two hours and ten minutes. Theo Travis plays flute, saxes, keyboards, and various electronics. As the second set opens before a packed audience and the musicians assemble on stage, Fred Baker is noticeably absent and John announces an APB to locate a bass player, advising any one will do. To be fair, they do start ten minutes before announced set two opening time at 21:30, and soon after the 'waiting for Fred' improv begins, he joins them.

Fred has played with Phil Miller, Pip Pyle, and was with John Etheridge and Ric Saunders back in the eighties. This is the second time I have seen him with Soft Machine, he contributes solid, occasionally flashy bass, and was personally chosen by his predecessor Roy Babbington upon the latter's retirement. Roy guests on the latest album in a duet with Fred,

The audience is a nice mix of older fans and younger people - as always one wonders how they encountered the band. We quiz a few - mention is made of 'Dad's CD collection'. Two youngsters we spot leave with recent releases on vinyl signed by the band.

The encores keep coming, rewarding a really enthusiastic crowd. First up is a medley of Backwards/Noisette, and the band take their final bows. Then John E decides they will do one last tune, Grape Hound by Soft Machine Legacy, which is a riff-heavy track to see us all home.

A damned fine evening.
Last edited by LMG on 04 Feb 2024, 12:01, edited 1 time in total.
"Nothing would count as a fulfilment in a world in which literally nothing is important but self-fulfilment."

- Charles Taylor

User avatar
mudshark
Posts: 2124
Joined: 25 Jul 2003, 03:51

Re: Soft Machine - Live Reviews 2016-2024

Postby mudshark » 03 Feb 2024, 15:40

Wonderful to read. Thanks for that. Seeing them live once is in the top-10 of my bucket list.
There's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over

User avatar
Hightea
Posts: 4356
Joined: 16 Apr 2015, 02:18
Location: NY state

Re: Soft Machine - Live Reviews 2016-2024

Postby Hightea » 06 Feb 2024, 02:22

LMG nice review good to see John Etheridge carrying on the band with Theo.
Image

User avatar
C
Robust
Posts: 78470
Joined: 22 Jul 2003, 19:06

Re: Soft Machine - Live Reviews 2016-2024

Postby C » 06 Feb 2024, 10:29

Thanks Chris - great review.

I note they did Burden of Proof from the Legacy album of the same name - a highly recommended LP

You mention the ubiquitous Harry Beckett - the lad played on Jack Bruce's Songs for a Tailor, Ian Carr's Nucleus' Solar Plexus, Manfred Mann Chapter Three's first and of course Keep Hartley's Battle of NW6 to name but a few - a great trumpet player.





.
Rorschach wrote:You, sir, are a destroyer of planets. A BCB Galactus if you will.


Return to “Yakety Yak”