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Audience - Alive&Kickin'&Screamin'&Shoutin'

Audience - Alive&Kickin'&Screamin'&Shoutin'Audience released just four albums in their brief life-span, 1969-72, and it's odds-on that had they not broken up before even getting the chance to take the final one "Lunch" out on tour, their next would have been a live recording.

So here, a mere 33 years later, we have it. Not recorded all those years ago, but the enigmatic Audience reformed last year, played some gigs, and this was recorded at the Astor Theatre in Deal, Kent, in December.

If you're unfamiliar with the band, they have a very English sound, a four-piece comprising nylon-strung acoustic guitar, woodwind, bass and drums. Their Prog-ness comes from their ability to write both cheerful and gloomy material, and to wig-out without electric guitar posturing.

Opening with You're not smilin'  from House on the Hill, Howard Werth's trademark acoustic work defines the Audience sound, along with Keith Gemmell's sax and flutework. Their first three albums are well served with selections here, along with material from Howard's solo career (Zig-Zag & Swirl), and a couple of cover versions.

If you didn't catch the band either last year or earlier this year, then the inclusion of a James Brown track, The Bells may come as a surprise, but it neatly tacks onto the end of a Keith Gemmell solo piece which runs the full gamut of effects pedals, but on saxophone! Not to be outdone, Trevor Williams bass playing includes some fine fuzz-work, and it's obvious they're enjoying being back out on the road.

All in all, a fine album, nicely recorded, and if you missed seeing them live, hearing this will prompt you to watch out for their next tour.

Graham Hunt

Audience

 


 

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