the red penguin

Focus – The Beaverwood Club, Chislehurst

This is the second time that Focus appears on my list, but it’s really the first time I’ve properly seen them live. The first time was for an interview and watching the soundcheck, which I’ve kept on my Big Gig List rightly or wrongly.

I did try to arrange an interview and session with them but their rather unhelpful management representative was rather unhelpful, and after an initial exchange of correspondence he just couldn’t be bothered any more.

In fact I have massive feelings of ambivalence while writing up this gig. I loved Focus 3 when I was a teenager – it’s still an astonishing album. I’ve met them and they were lovely guys – really nice to chat to and spend time with. And they’re an amazing live band after all this time too.

I’ve also had dealings since this show with their management and their regular promoter, a geriatric orangutan called Hessentaler. They’re the biggest cunts I’ve met in 30 years of dealing with bands and managers. There, I went for the C word; I’m sure the feeling is mutual!

So I decided to forget all about that and go as a regular music fan. This led to a number of firsts for me, not least the fact that I was going to Chislehurst for the first time. I consider myself fairly well-travelled but I have tended to stay well away from south east London all my life and I wasn’t really sure where the town was close to.

The club itself was a typical blues/jazz type joint and it was packed – shoulder to shoulder, maybe 300 people there. Even though I got there about 10 minutes before the set started I managed to fineagle myself a nice slot at the front right in front of Thijs van Leer, so I couldn’t argue with the view!

The show was fantastic – Thijs and original drummer Pierre van der Linden still sounding incredibly sharp. No Jan Akkerman in Focus for many years now but current guitarist Menno Gootjes is one hell of a good replacement, and that’s no mean feat.

Tuesday 20 November 2012, 241 views

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