Average White Band: Marquee, London

THE AVERAGE White Band work in a very narrow well-defined area of music, but within that context they excel. Their music is tough and funky all the way and uses many of the tricks of James Brown’s Famous Flames — the insistent bumping bass, the spiky guitar fills, the cliff-hanging drum breaks, the dramatic saxophone sortie.

On Thursday night at the Marquee they used Brown’s ‘Get On The Good Foot’ towards the end of their set, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a white band catch the feel so convincingly as they did. At times it was a bit looser than it should have been, but there was absolutely no doubt about the power and conviction going into the playing.

Alan Gorrie’s bass and vocals seem to be the kingpin of the outfit, getting into a smooth boogaloo groove with drummer Robbie McIntosh. The use of two guitars gives plenty of room for each to do what he can best, and also allows Hamish Stuart to down tools and really get into some singing and tambourine shaking. He has a fine, controlled voice with a hint of falsetto a la Temptations and makes good use of it.

There is one criticism: at the moment the band are obviously getting off on their own music, but they tend to turn the energy inwards to each other. They should turn it out and play more to the audience. This apart. I see no reason why Average White shouldn’t go down as one of the strongest live bands around.

© Martin HaymanSounds, 3 March 1973

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