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Paul Vickers and The Leg/Andy Brown/Zed Penguin

Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh
Thursday April 14th
4 stars
Edinburgh eccentrica in exelcis is the order of the day for this triple
bill based around the unveiling of Paul Vickers and The Leg's
forthcoming third album of wacked-out Beefhearian music-hall blart.
Opening proceedings, however, is Zed Penguin, aka Aussie ex-pat Matthew
Winter, whose vintage amp appears to have a heartbeat, and who ushers
himself in with an elaborate backing track intro before launching into
a set of heavily-echoed thrash-blues that errs towards the left-field
in a twangingly captivating fashion.

Even more of a show-man is Sara and the Snakes guitarist and best
dressed man about town Andy Brown, who in his Victorian Karaoke guise
plays to backing tapes, effectively duetting with himself in a voice
somewhere between a whisper and a growl. Brown changes hats, gives a
singalong rendition of tiny tots nursery rhyme 'This Little Piggy,' and
does warped disco segues into George McCrae's mid-70s dancefloor
shuffler 'Rock Your Baby' in a way that looks and sounds increasingly
Robert Wyatt.

Vickers and co themselves are in splendidly abrasive form, mixing
material old and new as a diversion from their sorely overlooked
concept opera, 'Itchy Grumble.' Drummer Alun Thomas still dresses like
a panda, only now with extra-added goatee whiskers. The remainder of the
band stand newly unmasked, with cellist Pete Harvey and guitarist Dan
Mutch clearly having fun while Vickers belts out a selection of brand
new short story oddities, most of which seem to be based around
gardening. As the band play like their lives depended on it, first
album classic 'The Ballad of Bess Houdini' becomes a jaunty roar of
serious fun on a night that veered towards alternative cabaret revue in
all its dressed-down glory.

The List, April 2011

ends

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