T.Rextasy, Alnwick Playhouse; Friday, October 25
When is a tribute band not a tribute band, but more a legitimate act in its own right?
I guess I witnessed the closest answer there can be at the Alnwick Playhouse last week.
T.Rextasy paid their respects to the incredible talent that was Marc Bolan and his glam rock trail-blazers T-Rex in the best possible way – with a show of class, musical brilliance and obvious devotion.
There are some bands that can never reform and, after the untimely death of Bolan in a car crash in September 1977, shortly before his 30th birthday, T-Rex is sadly one of them.
Like their heroes, T.Rextasy has had several changes in their line-up, the most recent only three weeks ago when bass guitarist Glenn Sissons joined the group. Musically, there was no telling, though, as they remained tight and slick throughout, held together by the stylish drumming of the experienced John Skelton and rhythms of guitarist Neil Cross.
But the real star of the show was Danielz, who belied his 54 years to produce an energetic, moving and extremely accurate portrayal of the charismatic Bolan.
Danielz told me after the gig that he had seen Bolan in concert several times, including on his last tour. He was almost a reincarnation of his hero – he had the bohemian looks and distinctive voice.
The performance was more gig than show, with no fancy lighting effects and a simple banner backdrop, pretty much as it would have been back in the day. In fact, the first half was somewhat subdued. It was not until the hits started rolling, with Telegram Sam, Teenage Dream and Solid Gold Easy Action, that the Playhouse really started to rock.
The set was interspersed with some poignant accoustic numbers, just like Bolan used to do, with Danielz responding to requests from the audience. They included the haunting Ballroom of Mars and Cosmic Dancer.
The first half ended on a real high with Get It On and Danielz rocking to the max, playing his Les Paul with a tambourine!
Part two turned up the heat with 20th Century Boy, Children of the Revolution and The Groover and sent the crowd into a frenzy with Ride a White Swan and the amazing encore Hot Love.