Monday, November 10, 2008

The Herald newspaper (Scotland) – Neil Cooper reviews Todd’s Edinburgh Picture House gig (Nov 10)

Todd Rundgren, Picture House, EdinburghNEIL COOPER November 10 2008
Star rating ****
There's a 60-year-old man on stage wearing regulation rock star shades and the tightest leather trousers this side of Iggy Pop. Flanking him are three other big-haired men in sunglasses. Only bassist Rachel Haden (daughter of jazz composer Charlie), looking somewhere between Tank Girl and Tinkerbell, offers a visual counterpoint to what could be a very macho scene.

It's Todd Rundgren's voice that really stands out, though. After 40 years of practice, Rundgren's vocal cords have matured into a guttural roar from Hades. Accompanied by a blistering melange of glam-metal, as demonstrated on his new album Arena, Rundgren sounds invigorated.

Arena works even better live, as proved when it's played from start to finish as the centre-piece of Rundgren's current show, which stopped off in Edinburgh as one of only four UK dates. Rundgren remains something of a tease, however, and for the first half hour the material dates back as far as the Who-influenced 1968 B-side, Open My Eyes. This may make sense of the target T-shirt Rundgren is sporting, but it's heartening when he says we "deserve some pudding". It comes in the sticky flavours of the Carole King homage and bona fide hit, I Saw The Light, which is just dessert enough.

After that, it's time to get serious, harder and heavier. With a three-guitar line-up, the short, sharp shocks of each song bridge the tasteful side of 1970s soft rock, with AC/DC-style fist-in-the-air anthems and also something more foreboding. Not that there's any angst on show. There's a sprite-like playfulness to proceedings that even sees the band throwing sweeties out into the audience. Unlike Iggy, though, this isn't pantomime.

1 comment:

jack said...

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