Curse of Lono at The Cluny, Newcastle

Curse of Lono
The Cluny II
May 17th 2022

For health reasons, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to leave the house on an evening to attend a gig; especially when the venue is a standing one; so the act has to be special to tempt me out these days.
Seeing the new version of Curse of Lono certainly ticks that box for me!
While I’d vaguely heard the name ‘Lucas & King’ I had no idea at all what to expect ….. so I was intrigued when two young women wandered onto the stage, which was packed with instruments.
Within seconds of their first song; Bo Lucas’s distinctive voice quietened the chatterers sitting behind me in the bleachers.
I say ‘distinctive’ and it is; but I could have also said ‘beautiful’ and/or ‘quirky’ but whichever; I and the Cluny crowd fell in love with it immediatly.
The other half of the duo; Hayleigh King plays a rather fabulous and Twangtastic style of guitar accompaniment too btw.
Obviously I didn’t know any of the song titles in advance; but one could have been called No Giving In; and was almost Avant Garde with Bo going full on Marianne Faithfull while Hayleigh added some really subtle Jazz influenced piano parts beside her …. and the reception from the sparse crowd was quite extraordinary.
Half way through the all too short set the couple dropped in a cover version…. and what a spectacular choice it was; Nancy Sinatra’s Bang Bang!
Six songs and every single one a winner and completely different from each other certainly putting Lucas & King on the RMHQ radar, that’s for sure.
After a short interval, as various members of the ‘new’ Curse of Lono’ band set up their various instruments Bo Lucas appeared too, sorting some leads that I presumed she’d left behind; only for her to plug one in as she was the backing vocalist!
I really should keep up to date with the news.
As the band started with a new and increasingly intense and hypnotic version Think I’m Alright Now, the room suddenly filled up with fans who had either been in the bar; or in the case of Clive ….. trying to get into Cluny I!
For the second song Steppin’ Out; Felix’s vocals somehow dropped an octave or two to create a fabulous air of musical mystery.
Without listing every song they played in their hour and a half on stage; but there was a fabulous mix of old and new songs; with the new members of the band expounding a new found energy in the older songs; none more so than Don’t Look Down and London Rain.
While I’ve loved Curse of Lono since the first play of their debut EP in 2016; yet I’ve never been able to ‘pigeon hole’ them.
Are they Americana? Possibly.
Are they Indie? Possibly
Are they Goths? Maybe (around the edges).
Are they Alt. Country? Maybe.
The only act I can really ever compare them too would be Nick Cave, which neatly brings me around to the duets, London Rain and So Damn Beautiful which weren’t a million miles away from Cave’s work with Kylie… yep they really were that good.
As you’d expect the new band members all got their moment in the sun; with Joe Harvey White mesmerising the audience with his intricate pedal steel playing; and when he played his Gretsch guitar, I swear I saw smoke coming off the strings on a few songs.
Dedicating 2018’s Way To Mars to his mentor, Chuck Prophet was as apt as it was a masterstroke as the cool harmonies and interplay between the rhythm section and the guitars was as extraordinary as anything the ex-Green on Red man has ever released.
Another would have to be the lustful and feisty Ursula Andress from the latest album; which took on a life of its own; which I didn’t expect.
After being off the road for over two pandemic laden years, this was quite an emotional night for both band and audience; which really showed by the reaction to both encores Man Down and the pumped up Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride.
As I tried to make a discrete exit it proved difficult as I had been standing next to the merch desk which was suddenly surrounded by fans trying to buy t-shirts, CD’s and (reasonably priced) LP’s.

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