Van Der Graaf Generator, Audience: Royal Festival Hall, London


VAN DER Graaf Generator played a very entertaining set at the Royal Festival Hall on Monday evening and justified Tony Stratton Smith’s gamble of headlining a bill at such a venue with a comparatively new group.

Though they’ve been around for some time they haven’t yet achieved a great deal of status.

The five-piece group — vocalist, organ, bass guitar, sax and drums — have a good deal of stage presense and their numbers were presented in a professional manner without undue embellishment. One of the more noticeable pieces was ‘White Hammer’, which is all about witchcraft in the fifteenth century!

‘Darkness’ and the strangely titled ‘Even Damnation Is Plagued With Rainbows’ earned a good response from the concert-goers, who were pretty partisan but also appreciative.

Audience was the other group playing and they got a nice sound going, leaning towards jazz, the tenor saxophonist doing a lot of hard work. A very fresh arrangement of Screaming Jay Hawkins’ ‘I Put A Spell On You’ was exceptional and the final number ‘House On The Hill’ developed into quite a raver. A group worth watching.

© Richard GreenNew Musical Express, 6 June 1970

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