UK Gigs Summer 2003

Sat 7th June Borderline, 16 Manette Street, London, W1D 4JB Doors 7.00 p.m. Box Office 0207 395 0777.
Sun 8th June The Brook, 466 Portswood Road, Southampton SO17 3AN Doors 8.00 p.m. Box Office 023 8055 5366
Mon 9th June Branksome Railway Hotel, 429, Poole Rd, Branksome Poole Dorset BH12 1DQ Tel: 01202 769555(semi-acoustic gig)
Tues 10th June The Phoenix Arts Centre, Gandy Street, Exeter, Devon EX4 3LS. Doors 8.00 p.m. Box Office 01392 667080
Weds 11th June The Bistro, Newcastle Opera House, West Gate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 4AG. Doors 7.00 Show 8.30 p.m. Box Office 0191 232 0899.
Fri 13th June The Boom Boom Club, Sutton United FC, Gander Green Lane, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 2EY. Doors 8.p.m. Box Office 0208 644 4440
Sat 14th June The Astor Theatre Arts Centre, Stanhope Road, Deal, Kent, CT14 6AP. Doors 7.30 Box Office 01304 366077
Sun 15th June The Stables, The Laine Dankworth Centre, Stockwell Lane, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, MK17 8LL. Doors 8.00p.m. Box Office 01908 280800


Borderline, LONDON June 7 2003

Days like this are a great adventure for us - London is the biggest theme park there is. Endless attractions sprinkled between stops for fast food and fast beer (quickest there is - in one end and out the other). The Royle Family and the Presidential bits round Downing Street look just like the telly, so no disappointments there. We even caught the rarest glimpse of a native Londoner who muttered 'Gor blimey, Guv' before he handed me a Big Issue. Or was he an actor?? No perspective ever truly survives The Truman Show.

We got off the crazy train (again doing it) at Reality Station with the arrival of the cheerful, familiar faces that are the lifeblood of these occasions. My words will never adequately paint the affinity that has sprung from the bottom of this Ayersian well - but if you're there as well, you don't need any explanation.

The packed Borderline sweltered in a temperature that could have comfortably cultivated exotic fruit. A warm welcome was guaranteed for Kevin and band from a capacity audience that would have needed a tin opener and generous lubrication in the event of any evacuation. The setlist was predictable - a fact that was perhaps in itself predictable, given the limited rehearsal time prior to this tour. That apart, just to see Kevin looking fit and well and back in the UK for the second time in less than 8 months justifies any setlist. The band were in the usual excellent shape and were well served by a sympathetic sound quality. I enjoyed hearing more of Marvin's well-textured keyboard in the mix this time. For a first date, the songs typically seemed less 'explored' than they will be by the end of the week. 'Super Salesman' was clearly half-day closing. 'Whatevershebringswesing' was chillingly beautiful. How can a song like that belong to a fat lady?

Where else did my mind take a photo? Ludo screaming on 'Didn't Feel Lonely' and instantly whipping up the tempo; trying to remember if I've ever seen Patrick without his hat - has anyone? - and the look of sheer quiet pride that crosses Marvin's face as his band soars and swoops behind the spiral vortex of Alain's guitar.

And the man in the black silk shirt sang and played and smiled and very secretly turned into a giant.

Come back soon.(MW)

Matt Watkins was at EXETER Phoenix 10/06/03

Set 1: Feeling this Way/Too Old to Die Young/Mr Cool/When Your Parents/There Goes Johnny/Lady Rachel/Supersalesman/Blamin' it all on Love

Set 2: See you Later/Didn't Feel Lonely/Everybody's Blues/Star/Teddy Bears'Picnic/Whatevershebrings/Shouting in a Bucket/May I/Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes

Encores: Don't Depend on You/Thank you Very Much

This was the first KA gig I've been to, and on the eve of my birthday. Long overdue! Nice to see Kevin looking so sprightly and backed by such an excellent band

Alan St John was at NEWCASTLE Opera House 11/06/03

I can't think of a lot to say, except I enjoyed the evening and came home satisfied that I'd now seen an artist whose records have become familiar to me over some thirty years. The band were tight and efficient without being terribly adventurous. The songs were mostly old and recognised, and Kevin played electric throughout, with efficiency.The sound quality was about as good as it could be, given the shape of the room with its low ceiling and pillars in inconvenient places. I could hear, if not see, just about everything.

Kevin has, of course, a wonderful voice, so even if you know the material, it's a treat to hear him do the songs in person.The years have done no damage to his rich tones, as was evidenced by 'Stranger . . .' and 'Shouting in a Bucket Blues', both of which are pitched low. I noted an absence of between -songs talk, and was glad of this. There was more time for songs, with only the occasional remark or explanation. I sensed the hundred or so people there went home as happy as I did

Set List: Feeling this Way, Too Old to Die Young, Mr. Cool, When Your Parents Go to Sleep, There Goes Johnny, Lady Rachael, Supersalesman, Didn't Feel Lonely . . ., Everybody's Sometime Blues, Star, Whatevershebringswesing, Shouting in a Bucket Blues, May I, Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes, I Don't Depend on You, Encores:Teddy Bears' Picnic (instrumental); Thankyou Very Much

Richard Kemble was there the night that Kevin Ayers brought culture to SUTTON - Friday 13 June

There were many Ayers fanatics in the 100 plus audience at the Sutton Boom Boom club. I couldn’t believe my luck, about to see Kevin for the third time in a year. For me it was a throwback to the early seventies when my pals and I followed around The Whole World for most of the London area gigs.

I briefly met the band outside, as Jay Trilby skillfully warmed up the early punters. I spoke to the bands guitarist Alain and was surprised by his warm and friendly demeanor, quite different from the rather austere figure he cuts when performing.

I love watching Ayers on a small stage. World weary but professional, giving plenty of space to his hotshot guitarist but still charismatic after all these years. Tonight Kevin overcame any disappointment he might have felt by the low turn out and gave a great performance. Of course he grumbled about the lights and tonight he complained about the poor monitors but we received a great tight sound.

This band is good and the songs are magnificent. I have grown to thoroughly enjoy ‘There Goes Johnny,’ ‘Super Salesman’ and ‘I Don’t Depend on You’ but I do miss the classic songs, especially ‘May I’ and ‘Clarence in Wonderland.’

I hope that Kevin gets the career break his music deserves. Maybe a film director will discover one of these great songs and place it in a hit film. Tonight, once again, the stand out song was Lady Rachel. Any film directors interested?

Peter Morrison-Bartlett was also at SUTTON - Friday 13 June

Went to see Kevin & the band last night at the Boom Boom Club, a cracking little venue at Sutton F.C ground. Hard to find but well worth it. Small crowd but enthusastic. Havent seen Kevin for about twenty years but wont leave it so long next time as they were stonkin'.

Started a bit tired & grumpy but he soon warmed up & played a magnificent Lady Rachel in the first half which was the highlight. Second set was a brilliant Bucket Blues which the guitarist made the solos his own.

Tight band, great drummer but they do look Belgian (a strange qualification???! Ed.) Chatted to them after the gig, great guys. Worth a trip to Ghent to see them (& the beer of course).

Come back to Sutton soon Kevin!

Steve Foster was at DEAL, Astor Theatre, Saturday 14th June

'Nul n'est prophète dans son pays'.

The Astor is a gem of a venue. Somewhere between village hall and theatre. A dozen or so tables with chairs set up in front of the stage and a bar to the side. I'd imagined a rather higher turnout (isn't Kent Kevin's former manor?). About 60 in the audience? Quality rather than quantity as Kevin pointed out, even if he did find the atmosphere 'a bit formal'. All songs were listened to in hushed reverence, and acclaim was only given after the very last note of each song. Incredibly the bar did no business at all during the two sets!

First set: Feeling This Way, Too Old To Die Young, Mr Cool, When Your Parents Go To Sleep, There Goes Johnny, Lady Rachel, Super Salesman.

Second set: See You Later, Didn't Feel Lonely, Everybody's Sometime Blues, Star, Teddy Bears' Picnic, Whatevershebringswesing, Shouting In A Bucket Blues, May I, Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes, I Don't Depend On You.

Encore: Thank You Very Much

Sound quality excellent, no problems with the lights. Lady Rachel stood out a mile, atmospheric, spacey beyond belief - guitars, keyboards and that voice. Great version too of Stranger In BSS.

Kevin and the band were pleased with the gig. Birthday boy Alain gave it all he had, Ludo played with his usual demented energy, Patrick solid as ever, Marvin at the service of his buddy Kevin.

One of those gigs that was a real pleasure and a privelege to have attended.