Baxter Dury Live @ Village Underground, London 24/02/2015
Yesterday, Baxter Dury arrived on stage in total darkness, wrapped in a flashing neon cable from head to toe, surrounded not only by the musicians, but also by S&M sex dolls. He opened the show with Isabel, a song from his 2011 Happy Soup album, from which he is going to perform 7 songs that evening including Claire and Leak At The Disco.
He introduces the 4th song by saying "This one is called the Afternoon… and I love you" before encouraging the crowd to clap to the rhythm, which sadly doesn't really take effect. He then talks briefly about his tour which is going to happen mainly in France, because for some reason he is "very fashionable" over there, as he says.
Throughout the show, it becomes clear why the French love him: he is a British version of electro pop/rock artist Sebastien Tellier (which the British appreciate a lot too). Except for the haircut and beard, they both have quite a one-track mind: one plays with sex dolls on stage, the other one tells very explicit jokes; yet both their songs are generally very romantic while being erotic.
They have the same references in terms of sensuality, the beach theme being quite effective to represent it, as in Dury's Palm Trees or Tellier's Roche. They also have a penchant for female choirs, with a 'beach boy sound' present in Dury's Clair or Tellier's Divine. Finally, they openly talk or sing not only about sex, but about drugs too, and while they enjoy drinking a lot on stage, they are not greedy and both happily share with the fans, by refilling their cups throughout the show!
After 6 songs, Dury opened the way to his new album It's A Pleasure with Other Men's Girls. The song is constructed in the same way as his infamous Cocaine Man, featuring the singer talking with a strong accent in between choruses sang by Fabienne Debarre's very delicate and smooth voice. The beat and the guitar chords remind us of The Rolling Stone's Under My Thumb, before evolving into a more electronic and transporting sound. Five other songs from the new album followed, including Pleasure and Whispered; as well as Cocaine Man which marked the end of the set.
The band came back for a two song-encore, reopening the gig with The Sun, which was introduced by a drum solo and during which Baxter Dury gave us a 30-second lunatic laugh, the same one that illustrated the entire show. Altogether, Dury and his musicians offered an eccentric, sensual and amusing show all at the same time, so what's not to like about that combination?