Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hendrix Lives On!


I've been very remiss with postings of late, but with good reason.

September 18th marked the 40th anniversary commemoration of the death in London of Jimi Hendrix. To commemorate this auspicious occasion we organised a weekend of special events. Understandably, Jimi took precedence over blogging.

And what a weekend it was!

One overriding objecive was for us to mount a plaque at the Hyde Park Hotel, in London's Bayswater district. This was Jimi's first 'home' but, incredibly,there was nothing here to mark the fact. I'm proud to be able to say that the hotel now has a suitable recognition of its place in rock history, with the plaque being 'unveiled' by the incomparable Jeff Dexter, a personal friend of Jimi's from his London days.

An allied objective was to mark the occasion fittingly, with a gig in a London club that Jimi himself would have known, and in front of the size of audience he was playing to back in his early days with the Experience. Authenticity was the key as there seem to be so many other commemorations where commercialization was the driving force (and a certain London hotel is especially to be castigated for its attempt to jump on the bandwagon).

With the amazing tribute band 'Are you Experienced' playing at the 120 capacity Troubadour Club, it could not have been more authentic. Even down to my ears still ringing after 3 days...

John Campbell, who 'does' Jimi, is truly fantastic, but he couldn't do it without the support of Kevin Grady, drums /backing vocals and Mark Arnold on bass. Every number of their 2 hours was note perfect.Kevin's rumming on the demanding 'Machine Gun' was superb! You didn't have to close your eyes to 'see' Jimi; he was there in front of you in the persona of John. The place rocked. Our special guests, the Brazilian rock superstars of 'Pitty' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nIvh-6sQiQ&a=GxdCwVVULXfxd3IKue0RWY3lAXkFJLNg&list=ML&playnext=1), claimed it was one of the best evenings they'd had, adding that they had no regrets over missing their MTV award presentation ceremony back in Brazil for this. A compliment indeed.

Complementing the raw energy of 'Are Your Experienced' was a late night set from an incredible new Brazilian duo, 'Sambulus', comprising husband and wife team, Luana and Ceasar Barbosa. These guys have been officially sanctioned by the Hendrix estate and their interpretation of Hendrix numbers, female vocal accompanied by piano and guitar, is memorable. To be quite truthful, with their level of professionalism and playing ability, they would not have been out of place at Ronnie Scott's commemorative night where classic violinist, Nigel Kennedy, performed with special guests (including Eric Burdon). A name to watch out for I suspect.

In my next blog I'll report back on our Friday evening where we were privileged to host four incredible rock'n'roll characters, all of whom had personal memories of Jimi that they unselfishly shared with us.

If you were at any of our events, including the special city tours, then let us know what you felt and what memories of Hendrix they brought back for you.

4 comments:

  1. Wow...It was faster than I thought!!!
    Rominho

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  2. Having taken part in the whole weekend, the only way to describe it would have to be 'what an experience'! The atmosphere in each event was unique. Friday night was fascinating listening to the very interesting four speakers and watching the plaque being unveiled. The day tours were amazing visiting places that Jimi had lived, played and recorded in, along with lots of other London Rock history. Saturday night at the Troubadour was incredible with the brilliant 'Are you experienced' and 'Sambulus', what a privilege to meet the new duo Sambulus we really enjoyed the performance. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in this commemorative weekend and as a musician influenced by Jimi's music I felt so honoured to go in the flat were he once lived. Thank you Bruce for all your hard work to make it such a memorable and groovy weekend! Jon & Lucy

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  4. This was the first time I’ve seen Are You Experienced and the first time that I’ve been to the Troubadour and I’m going to make sure it won’t be the last on either count. Bruce organized an incredible night for the commemoration of Jimi Hendrix’s passing. As soon as they took to the stage John, Mark and Kevin had us under their spell. They achieved an amazing feat – to give a fully authentic tribute to Hendrix while still managing to allow their own characters to bubble beneath the surface. To give such an energetic and truly audience-involving performance for well over two hours and then to genuinely interact with us during the break and after the gig was pure class. I can’t wait to see Are You Experienced again and to pay another visit to the Troubadour. Thanks Bruce!
    Mark Burgess

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