The Music of Cream, The Forum, Kentish Town, 2018 review. Plus 2019 UK tour dates announced.
The Music of Cream - The Forum, Kentish Town - 25/11/18
This fresh dollop of nostalgia was sweetened by a heaped spoonful of talent shaken from the Bruce, Baker and Clapton family trees. Musically, this surpassed expectations over two sets that included many of the best and beloved songs from the Cream canon; with the triptych of 'Sleepy Time Time', 'Deserted Cities' and 'Strange Brew' particularly enthralling and Malcolm Bruce and Will Johns' voices strong and arresting. Fabulous Baker Boy Kofi excelled throughout and intoned the bestial fable of 'Pressed Rat and Warthog' with a familial sneer and percussive flair.
The first set closed at the end of a bearded rainbow, with Mal's daughter, Maya's, pot-of-gold voice well matched to the psychedelic blues of SWLABR.
Following the interval, the repetitious 'I'm So Glad' was not the best song to regain the velvety momentum of the first set, but I was more than pleased that the groovy blues pairing of 'Crossroads' and 'Born Under a Bad Sign' had things back on track with Will's weighty lead-work nicely invoking the spirit of Uncle Eric.
Bruce family friend and original Cream lyricist, Pete Brown, brought authenticity at the cost of rather ragged vocals to his acclaimed contributions. 'White Room' and 'Sunshine Of Your Love'. Best of all was Mal's version of his father's melancholic 'We're Going Wrong', replacing the anguished wail of the original with a poised and haunting vocal of which Jack would have been proud.
This was a fine celebration of Cream’s music, but the film footage and voice-over were at best superfluous and at times irritating; particularly the out of sync images of Clapton during one of his pompadour hair and dandy dress days. That said, video images of Jack Bruce's emotion-charged commitment to every note and lyric and Ginger Baker's ferocious musicianship, remain utterly compelling and a reminder of the heavy legacy and influence of what remains surely the primal power trio in rock history.
That Will, Mal and Kofi were able to reignite that spark and deliver a worthy performance to a warmly receptive crowd, is a testament to their own musical gifts and a righteous desire to honour the legend of their forebears in totally respectful style.
Photography by Andy Rawll.
UK 2019 TOUR DATES (full details here: https://www.musicofcream.com)
Thurs 3 October | Sheffield - Plug 2
Fri 4 October | Newcastle - Riverside
Sat 5 October | Edinburgh - Assembly Rooms
Sun 6 October | Glasgow - Oran Mor
Tues 8 October | Milton Keynes - Stables
Wed 9 October | Norwich - Epic Studios
Thur 10 October | Brighton - The Haunt
Fri 11 October | London - Cadogan Hall
Sat 12 October | Southhampton - Central Hall
Sun 13 October | Bath - Komedia
Tues 15 October | Exeter - Phoenix
Wed 16 October | Shrewsbury - Severn
Thurs 17 October| Birmingham - The Mill
Fri 18 October | Manchester - RNMC
Sat 19 October | Liverpool - Arts Club
Mon 21 October | Leeds - Brudenell
Tues 22 October | Cardiff - The Globe
Wed 23 October | Southend - The Chinnerys